Three vice presidents, two directors, an associate director, Liberty magazine editor, and the president of the Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM) have been newly elected to serve the North American Division (NAD) until 2025.
The election on April 29, 2021, took place during a meeting of the NAD Executive Committee. The committee’s meeting date had been chosen by the same governing body through a vote on Feb. 25, after the postponement of the 2021 General Conference Session.
A total of 42 names were presented for election or re-election from the division’s nominating committee. Executive committee members could vote for or against the names, or refer the name(s) back to the nominating committee. Most positions voted were for incumbents. Seven new leaders accepted the call to serve.
Right before executive committee members voted, Randy Robinson, NAD treasurer, offered prayer. “Father, this is a solemn moment where we are acting … as we consider these individuals for these positions, we pray for your Spirit’s movement in our hearts. And we pray for the will of God to be done. We thank you,” Robinson prayed.
Wendy Eberhardt was elected to serve as the NAD vice president for ministries, replacing Bonita J. Shields, who announced this spring that she would not seek re-election. Eberhart is the director of Young Adult Ministries and camp ministries for the Arizona Conference. She has also served in the Upper Columbia, Kentucky-Tennessee, and Pennsylvania conferences, primarily in the roles of camping leadership and youth ministries.
“She has a strong passion for mentoring, is highly spiritual, and has tremendous people skills. She has the desire to see people be the best they can be,” G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president, said when presenting Eberhardt’s name to the executive committee.
Calvin Watkins Sr. was elected to become the NAD vice president for evangelism and regional liaison. Alvin Kibble, who retired in 2020, had served in the position of liaison to the regional conferences, in leadership development, and in Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL). Watkins is currently the president of the Southwest Region Conference. He had previously served the South Atlantic Conference as ministerial director and director of the conference’s Adventist Community Services.
“Calvin has baptized more than 6,000 people in his time as an evangelist,” Bryant said. “He is passionate about doing what he can to finish the work of the Lord.”
Maurice Valentine was elected as the vice president for media liaison, replacing the retiring Gordon Pifher, who was vice president of media ministries. Valentine previously served the Lake Union as its executive secretary and is currently its president. Prior to the Lake Union, he served as president of the Central States Conference and vice president for administration of the Mid-America Union. He has also organized a city-wide radio broadcasting network, and has served on the Breath of Life Ministries executive committee.
“He’s a facilitator and disciple-builder. He brings administrative strength to the role for collaboration,” Bryant said.
Current NAD vice presidents Arne Nielsen, vice president for education, and Tony Anobile, vice president for multilingual ministries, were both reelected.
All incumbents for secretariat and treasury positions were reelected: Elden Ramirez, undersecretary; Carolyn Forrest, associate secretary; Judy Glass, undertreasurer; C. Michael Park, associate treasurer; Sharon Mabena, associate treasurer; and Edwin Romero, associate treasurer. Romero also currently serves as Adventist Retirement administrator/CEO, a separately appointed position.
Ministries Leadership Elections
Bettina Krause was elected as the new editor of Liberty magazine, the division’s publication on religious liberty. Krause comes to the division from the General Conference as associate director of its PARL department, through which she represented the denomination to the U.S. Congress. With a law degree (LLB) from Australia, Krause has significant experience in denominational work as director of Adventist News Network and director of media relations for the General Conference. Krause also served as special assistant to the former president of the General Conference Jan Paulsen for protocol, media, and communication.
“She has a strong love of religious liberty and is very qualified to serve in this role,” Bryant said.
DeeAnn Bragaw was elected to become the women’s ministries director of the NAD, replacing Carla Baker, who retired in 2019. Bragaw works for the Rocky Mountain Conference, where she serves as its women’s ministries director and prayer ministries coordinator. She has a master’s degree in pastoral ministries and received a bachelor’s degree in education.
“DeeAnn comes highly recommended from many women’s ministries directors,” Bryant said. “She has coordinated many special events and retreats, and collaborates with the youth department to engage and empower teenagers.”
The newest director of NAD Adventist Community Services is W. Derrick Lea. Lea was previously its associate director, serving as disaster response director, occupying that role since 2015. He was a fire chief before coming to the division.
“He has a rich history in disaster work, and a passion for serving the community,” Bryant said.
Rudy Salazar will be the new Stewardship Ministries associate director. Salazar comes from the Central California Conference as its director of Gift Planning Ministries and Stewardship.
“Rudy also has many years of experience in stewardship and trust work from times in Texas, Oregon, and California. He’s conducted camp meeting services in English and Spanish,” Bryant said.
Incumbents for the following ministries were re-elected: Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, Paul Anderson, director; Children’s Ministries, Sherri Uhrig, director, and Gerry Lopez, associate director; Communication, Dan Weber, director, Kimberly Luste Maran, associate director, and Julio C. Muñoz, associate director; Health Ministries, Angeline Brauer, director; Office of Volunteer Ministries, Ernest Hernandez, director; Education, Leisa Morton-Standish, associate director, Stephen Bralley, associate director, Evelyn Sullivan, associate director, and Martha Ban, associate director; Family Ministries, Claudio Consuegra, director, and Pamela Consuegra, associate director; Literature Ministries, Carl McRoy, director; Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, Melissa Reid, associate director; Ministerial Association, Ivan Williams, director, Dave Gemmell, associate director, Jose Cortes Jr., associate director, and Esther Knott, associate director; Stewardship Ministries, Michael Harpe, director; and Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Tracy Wood, director, Vandeon Griffin, associate director, and Armando Miranda Jr., associate director.
Three positions have been referred to the NAD Administrative Committee (NADCOM), which meets throughout the year. These include the position of vice president of strategy and assessment, recently vacated by the retiring Paul Brantley; director for Sabbath School and Personal Ministries; and NAD ACS associate director.
The final position filled on April 29 was president of the Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM). Its previous president, Ken Norton, recently became the president of the Montana Conference. The NAD executive committee elected Matthew Kirk, the current secretary/treasurer of the Montana Conference, to become the mission’s newest president. Remenster Jano, GMM secretary, and Donald Lloyd, treasurer, were both re-elected.
The executive committee also voted two additional actions to give special recognition to leaders who have retired and/or have accepted different roles.