Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Inter-American Division (IAD) voted to recommend Ivelisse Herrera as treasurer of the division during a special executive committee meeting held in Miami, Florida, United States, on December 5.
If confirmed by the Executive Committee of the General Conference of the Adventist Church, Herrera will become the first woman to hold such an administrative position in the 100 years since the division was officially organized in 1922.
Herrera, who has been serving as undertreasurer, was nominated and voted in after more than 75 executive committee members voted on the same day to accept the request for retirement from current IAD treasurer Filiberto Verduzco, who served in that position for more than 22 years.
“Pastor Verduzco has been working with the idea of transitioning into spending more time with his wife, Alma, this year, and after the General Conference Session, our year-end meetings, the moment came when he felt it was time to end his church service and start retirement as of January 1, 2023,” IAD president Elie Henry said. The meeting was rushed to gather executive committee members ahead of the General Conference Executive Committee that will meet early on December 8, Henry said.
After the 42-member nominating committee returned from meeting separately for nearly an hour, applause filled the room as Ivelisse Herrera’s name was presented to be the treasurer and chief financial officer of the IAD.
“By your applause I can tell all of you are in agreement,” Henry said.
A Historic Day
“This is an important day, a historic day,” General Conference treasurer Paul Douglas said as he addressed the committee. “I applaud this administration. I will be delighted to carry this recommendation with me to the General Conference committee.” Douglas said it is an important day for God’s work in the IAD as the church moves forward together. “The IAD will continue to go further and faster as we await God’s soon return.”
“We are on the same team, and I will always be there for you,” Douglas said, turning to Herrera. “If you ever doubt your ability to do God’s work, look to James 1:5: ‘If you lack wisdom, ask for it, and He will graciously give to you.’ ”
Once the General Conference committee formally accepts the recommendation, Herrera will become the only woman to currently hold the treasurer position among the 13 divisions of the world church.
“You have already been doing the work extraordinarily well, and I am sure your part in the administrative team will go extraordinarily well,” Verduzco said. “You will add so much more and do better than me.” Verduzco also thanked Herrera publicly for her loyalty, dedication, and committed service.
Herrera’s years of service in the IAD headquarters span more than 17 years. Prior to her appointment as undertreasurer, she served as associate treasurer and as an accountant in the IAD headquarters since 2005. She is a commissioned minister and holds a master’s degree in business from Montemorelos University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Dominican Adventist University.
A New Dynamic
“The new dynamic is going to be interesting,” Henry said. “I’m not sure how it’s going to be with a lady among us, but we are looking at the work not because she’s a woman or that she comes from here or there, but because all of us are doing God’s work. With God right beside us, we will accomplish great things for the church.”
Herrera thanked the committee and vowed to take the new assignment with respect and humility. “I accept that you considered me for this position in recognition to Pastor Verduzco,” she said. “I have been working under the supervision of Pastor Verduzco for 17 years and four months. He has had a very positive influence in my life. We will work hard to continue that legacy here in the Inter-American Division, so that it can continue to be characterized for its solid, stable financial system.”
She thanked Douglas for putting his treasury team at her service in this transition period, and thanked union administrators and the IAD treasury team for their dedication in the day-to-day operations of the finance office.
“I know that if God has put me in this position, He will walk before me, showing me the way to proceed, facing the challenges that come our way,” Herrera said.
Church leaders prayed for Herrera, her family, and her ministry.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Herrera has more than 33 years of denominational service. She has served as mission office accountant, conference treasurer, and union trust services director in her home country.
Herrera is married to IAD Stewardship director Roberto Herrera. The couple have two adult children.