A Seventh-day Adventist Church leader from The Bahamas has received a prestigious award presented by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II to people of high office who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country.
Leonard Johnson, president of the Adventist Church’s Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission, whose territory encompasses The Bahamas, The Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, was awarded the Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) medal during the queen’s New Year Honor awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on June 22.
“I accept such honor not necessarily for myself but on behalf of the church that I serve with all the energy and strength that God has given to me,” said Johnson, who began his second five-year term in office in 2015.
Johnson’s 34 years of service has included positions as conference president in The Bahamas from 2003 to 2010 as well as a church pastor in the Caribbean country.
Johnson was one of two recipients of the CMG honor at the ceremony, joining 24 other Bahamians on the annual New Year’s Honors list announced earlier this year. He is the first Adventist minister from The Bahamas to receive the award.
Born on Polemus Street in the heart of the inner city of Grant’s Town in Nassau, Bahamas, Johnson was raised a Baptist and said he never imagined becoming the leader of a church, much less the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“This award reminds me of many persons God placed in my path to nurture me, including my late parents, my dear wife of 32 years, and those in and outside the church,” Johnson said. “This high and significant recognition without question must be attributed to God and, by extension, His church.”
Johnson also was among government and religious leaders who took part in The Bahamas’ 43rd independence celebrations on Rawson Square in Nassau on July 9. He prayed for the country and its leaders and people during the televised ceremony. In 2012, during The Bahamas’ 39th independence celebration, Johnson delivered the main spiritual message.