The General Conference (GC) Department of Family Ministries conferred the Spalding Medallion on Pedro and Cecilia Iglesias of the Inter-American Division (IAD) during a special luncheon held at the 61st General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, United States on June 8, 2022.
Family ministries directors from around the world gathered briefly after only connecting online during the past two years. “This is so exciting!” Elaine Oliver, GC associate director of family ministries, said. “We are so blessed to have the best team to work with. What we do is so critical to the mission of the church.”
The Iglesiases have been serving as IAD family ministries directors since 2010 and are also responsible for other administrative and departmental functions in Secretariat and the Ministerial Association.
“Pedro and Cecilia are top-drawer leaders,” GC families ministries director Willie Oliver said. “They are laser focused on ministering, committed to Jesus Christ and family ministries.”
Their dedication to the work of family ministries and their creative implementation of Bible principles, their knowledge of family issues, and their gifted and winsome way of presenting the dynamics and processes of developing and sustaining marriage and family relationships have earned them the Spalding Medallion, Oliver said.
To be a recipient of the Spalding Medallion, a person or couple must do much more than simply be a division director to receive this honor, Oliver said. The Iglesiases received the 48th medal conferred to an individual or a couple in four decades.
“The Iglesiases both have an excellent grasp of the vision of the world church for marriage and family and their strategic and deliberate implementation of that vision, and have a gifted way of using the tools and resources of family ministries to directly impact the lives of individuals and families,” Oliver added.
As an ordained minister, Pedro has served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for more than 39 years as a district pastor, departmental director, and conference president. He has also served as union secretary, union president, and currently also serves as associate secretary for the IAD. A native of Colombia, he holds a master’s degree in Family Relations, and three bachelor’s degrees: in theology, education, and technology management.
Cecilia has served the church at the conference, union, and division levels for the past 36 years. Born in Ecuador, Cecilia was trained as a secondary school teacher and family therapist. She holds a master’s degree in family therapy and a bachelor’s degree in home economics.
The Iglesiases are co-authors of the book How to Create a Heavenly Atmosphere in Your Home. They write a monthly column in Priorities magazine published by the Inter-American Publishing Association and are hosts of a television program on family issues featured on Hope Channel Inter-America.
They have been married for 37 years and have two children and two grandchildren.
“We are very moved right now because I thought that my first responsibility with Cecilia would always be as an administrator,” Pedro said. “We have been administrators in different responsibilities since 1992, and for some reason, [the church] would appoint us to be president and family ministries director in either local fields or at union level.”
It’s the first award they have ever received, Pedro said. “We accept it humbly, with heartfelt emotion, because family ministries has been our priority, and we hope to continue serving God in this area of ministry.
“This will be the only plaque we will keep in our living room,” Pedro said as Cecilia stood next to him.
“We have worked together for family ministries for more than 30 years, it’s been our passion,” Cecilia said.
The Spalding Medallion
Inaugurated in 1990 by the then GC directors of Family Ministries, Karen and Ron Flowers, the Arthur & Maud Spalding Medallion was named after the first couple to lead Family Ministries in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
On October 8, 1919, the GC Committee created the Home Commission, which became operative in 1922 with director Arthur W. Spalding, who worked in this capacity with his wife, Maud, until 1941. Spalding created literature for the education of the entire family. A series of leaflets was produced dealing with different phases of home life entitled, “The Christian Home Series.” Arthur W. Spalding wrote the lessons, and Maud Spalding graded them.
The Home Commission became part of the Department of Education in 1941. Over the next 34 years, marriage and family life programs were promoted by Parent and Home Education secretaries: Florence Rebok (1941-1947); Arabella Moore Williams (1947-1954); Archa O. Dart (1954-1970); and W. John Cannon (1970-1975).
In 1975, at the GC Session held in Vienna, Austria, Delmer and Betty Holbrook were elected directors of the Home and Family Service. Delmer Holbrook, who served as director of Family Ministries (formerly the Home and Family Service) with his wife, Betty, from 1975 to 1982, was the first recipient of the Spalding award.
The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.