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Hours after Inter-American Division President Pastor Israel Leito announced his retirement on Monday, executive committee members voted to recommend Dr. Elie Henry as the division's new president. Dr. Henry has been serving as the executive secretary for the church in Inter-America since 2010. Previous to that he served as one of three vice presidents of the division from 2000-2005. Pastor Leito’s retirement is effective August 1.
“It is a precious time in the transition of the leadership of this Division,” said Adventist World Church President Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson as he addressed the committee. Pastor Wilson, who chaired the nominating committee, said that upon the vote from the body of leaders it would then be referred to the General Conference’s Executive Committee for final vote next week.
“Place your ministry in God’s hands for He will go with you and not forsake you,” said Pastor Wilson as he encouraged the newly recommended Dr. Henry and his wife Ketlie on the new post.
Elder Wilson and wife Nancy both prayed over Dr. Henry and Ketlie as they face the ministry ahead in Inter-America.
Dr. Henry thanked the committee for their prayers and support and especially thanked Pastor Leito for being a mentor and friend.
“It will be very difficult to walk behind such a giant as Pastor Leito but we serve a big God and we trust His leading,” said Henry. “Thank you for your trust and please pray for me.”
Henry praised the support of his wife and promised to be faithful to the task at hand.
“Together with all colleagues here, we commit to keep the fire of evangelism burning, because there is a world to shine on and there is a Christ who is coming soon.”
An ordained minister, Henry holds a Ph.D. in Theology and a Master’s degree in Theology from the Université de Strasbourg. He has served the church in Inter-America for more than 39 years.
A native of Haiti, Henry’s career began as a district pastor in Haiti. He also served as professor, conference secretary, conference president, as well as union president. Dr. Henry also served as human resources director at the IAD headquarter office while he held the position of vice president.
Dr. Henry and Ketlie have three grown daughters.
As the executive secretary position became open, committee members moved to have the nominating study possible names for the position before the day’s meeting adjourned.
Dr. Leonard Johnson, associate ministerial secretary for the church in Inter-America and president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union, was recommended as the next IAD executive secretary.
“I praise God the united approach with this last session today,” said Pastor Wilson. “I know God will bless enormously,” he added before praying for Johnson.
As the committee welcomed Johnson with applause, he thanked the leaders for their trust. “I feel humbled, this is an awesome task and responsibility but I believe with your prayers and your support I can fulfill the will of God,” said Dr. Johnson.
He thanked all administrators for their counsel, his Caribbean Union leaders whom he called his brothers, his wife Denise and every committee member.
“I come as one willing to learn, so that I can grow and fulfill what is God’s purpose for me is now,” Johnson said.
Dr. Leonard Johnson obtained a Masters in Religion from the Northern Caribbean University, and a Doctorate in Ministry from the Reformed Theological Seminary.
Born in New Providence, Bahamas, Dr. Johnson has served the church in Inter-America for more than 35 years. He started his ministry as a pastor, then department director, conference secretary, conference president, and union president.
Dr. Johnson and Denise have two adult children, both married, and a grandson.
This article was written by Libna Stevens and originally appeared on the Inter-American Division website.
Image, from left to right: General Conference President Ted Wilson addresses IAD administrators who will be leading the church once Pastor Israel Leito (third from the left) retires in August. Dr. Leonard Johnson new executive secretary stands next to Dr. Elie Henry, new president and Filiberto Verduzco, treasurer, March 26, 2018, in Miami, Florida. Image courtesy of Keila Trejo/IAD.
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