Monday, August 31, 2015

Inter-America: Church Grants Commissioned Minister Credentials to Eight Employees

Seventh-day Adventist leaders of the church in Inter-America recognized the service of eight of its church employees by granting commissioned minister credentials during a special ceremony held at the Smyrna Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Fort-de-France, Martinique, on November. 6, 2010. The ceremony took place at the end of the church’s executive committee meetings.

“We are communicating that the leaders of the division are committed, consecrated people able to do a quality job under the leadership of the Holy Spirit,” said Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America. “This is why we have had this commissioning ceremony: To give witness to the division and gratitude to them for the faithful years they have served well.”

CREDENTIAL PRESENTED: Héctor Sánchez, ministerial secretary for Inter-America, grants a commissioned minister credential to Dinorah Rivera, children’s ministries 
director for the church in Inter-America, during a special ceremony in Fort-de-France, Martinique, November 6, 2010.  Five workers were granted commissioned minister credentials in May. Two others, both women, were commissioned in 2006, marking the first such commissioning in the Inter-American Division (IAD). In total, there are now 15 men and women commissioned as ministers in active service in the IAD and its publishing association.

“This is the highest recognition the church can give to nonministerial workers, so we wanted them to have that assurance and that affirmation as they do their work in the division territory,” Leito said.

According to the church’s working policy, whenever an employing organization considers it prudent to offer commissioned minister credentials to any of its workers, a ceremony is held to officially confer upon such a worker this high honor of the organization’s approval of the service of the worker. It is also a ceremony that sends the worker forward to continue toward fulfillment of the mission through organizational service.

In order to be considered for the commissioned minister credential, the employee must be in regular standing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church with more than five years of service, and be able to demonstrate proficiency in the assigned responsibilities.

Commissioned ministers may serve as associates in pastoral care, Bible instructors, treasurers, departmental directors, associate and assistant departmental directors, institutional chaplains, presidents and vice presidents of major institutions, auditors, and directors for Christian Record Services International, Inc. “In addition, such commissioned ministers are not normally on the path of ordination,” states the General Conference Working Policy (“Credentials and Licenses,” pp. 191, 192).

The ceremony was held to officially confer the special credential to IAD employees Belkis Archbold, health ministries director, with 31 years of service; Myrna Costa, vice president, with 31 years of service; Leticia De Los Santos, Shepherdess coordinator, with 13 years of service; Cecilia Iglesias, women’s ministries director, with 26 years of service; Abel Márquez, associate communication director, with 18 years of service; Louise Nocandy, youth ministries director, with 30 years of service; Dinorah Rivera, children’s ministries director, with 28 years of service; and Faye Patterson, associate education director, with 28 years of service.

Ella Smith Simmons, a general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, delivered a special message during the ceremony to a packed church.

SPECIAL CEREMONY: Eight Inter-American Division employees were granted commissioned minister credentials during a special ceremony in the Smyrna Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fort-de-France, Martinique.Simmons reflected on Matthew 25:1-13 and the need for the candidates to be constantly filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as they continue in the service of the mission of the church.

“We must shine as lights; we must set it out for the benefit of the cause,” said Simmons as she reminded candidates to be different in the sight of God and ensure that evidence of what’s inside shines bright on the outside.

“This may be a high turn for you and the church,” continued Simmons, “but you must come down and walk on earth like Jesus did. This [commissioning] is for life; you don’t drop out when the going gets tough or you get tired. You are now bound to God in a special relationship.”

Before the prayer of commission, Héctor Sánchez, ministerial secretary for the church in Inter-America, charged those being commissioned to continue serving God.

“It is wonderful to work for God, to live for God, and to work for this wonderful church. May people see in you and be influenced by your determination and commitment to finish the work,” Sánchez said.

For Myrna Costa, one of three vice presidents for the church in Inter-America, the ceremony signaled a renewed commitment to her work.

“To me this caps my experience in working for the church; it gives me a thrust to go forward, to do more, to reach other goals and levels in the cause,” she said.

“This ceremony means recognition,” said Dinorah Rivera. “It empowers you to accomplish your mission with a stamp.” She added that while this credential does not change her responsibilities, it does inspire a renewed commitment to the mission of the church.

Elsewhere in the territory, men and women have been granted commissioned minister credentials in the Caribbean and the West Indies regions. Other church regions are open to granting such credentials in the near future, while other leaders agree that it may be in the future.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America has more than 3.3 million members worshipping in more than 10,395 churches and congregations. It operates dozens of education and health institutions, schools, and health food companies throughout its 21 church regions. 

—Reported by Libna Stevens, assistant communication director, Inter-America Division.

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