World Report

October 9, 2017

Dominican Republic Announcement

The following statement from Darrel Lee to the Dominican Republic saints was read in the La Romana headquarters church during their Sunday morning service yesterday. It was read in both English and Spanish, announcing that Alberto Smith has retired as Supervisor de la República Dominicana (District Superintendent of the Dominican Republic) and Gledwin Mills (pictured above singing “Jericho Road”) has been appointed as his successor. The announcement was well received. We give thanks to God. Our prayers are with both of them, their loved ones, and the great work in the Dominican Republic.

Dear Dominican Republic Saints;

Over the past few months, Brother Alberto and I have been in communication as we have reviewed the Dominican Republic (DR) church constitution and the history of appointing DR supervisors and board members. To briefly summarize, we have official documents from 1952, 1957, 1969, 1994, 2001 which show the succession of supervisor appointments from Leonora Elfrida Richardson to Theodore Dunlop to Angelica Dunlop to Hugo Sams to Alberto Smith. In addition to supervisors, board members who voted to approve the supervisor and board member appointments over the years included Joseph Browne, Lucian Bastian, Joseph Gumbs, Emilia Charles, Viviana de Maynard, Clair Mayphen, Celina Coplin, Mezina de Powell, Jacorbo Peña, Alfred Francis, Hugo Sams, Alberto Smith (the father), Gledwin Mills, Flavius Vespasiano Liburd Roper, Luis Reid Payne, Pedro Abramson, Pio Wyatt Sweeney, and William Huggins.

Portland missionaries who worked with the DR board and the Portland General Overseer (title later changed to Superintendent General) included Forrest Damron, Dick Taylor, Earl Phillips, and Ivon Wilson. Portland General Overseers/Superintendents General were Raymond Crawford, Loyce Carver, Dwight Baltzell, and myself, Darrel Lee.

As established by the Dominican Republic veterans who wrote your church constitution, the DR supervisor represents the Apostolic Faith of Portland, Oregon, and as such is appointed by the Portland General Overseer/Superintendent General who works in concert with him and the DR board.

For the past fifteen years, DR board members have been Alberto Smith, Gledwin Mills, Luis Reid Payne, Edwin Gilfillary, and Andres Pichardo. During that time, board members who passed away included Pedro Abramson, Pio Wyatt Sweeney, Viviana de Maynard, and William Huggins. Their vacancies were never filled. No official church or legal action has been taken to add a board member since 2001. Likewise, no successor to Brother Alberto was appointed by Portland or confirmed by the DR board.

From the beginning of the Dominican Republic work decades ago, DR supervisors and the DR board have held themselves accountable to Portland world headquarters, the same as all of our churches throughout the world. This approach has proven to be a safeguard throughout our 110-year history, fostering unity and accountability. Portland appoints directors who are responsible for the oversight of given geographic areas. Tim DeBusk has served as Director of Caribbean Work for a few years, a role once filled by Dick Taylor and Forest Damron before him. Directors work closely with district superintendents (or in this case “supervisors”), often being guided by them and then reporting to the Superintendent General. The Superintendent General is responsible for appointing superintendents but does not independently do so. He confers with local boards before recommending appointments. Portland issues minister and ordained pastor certificates worldwide, who in turn represent the Apostolic Faith of Portland, Oregon. The Superintendent General in Portland, who has the responsibility to issue certificates, also has authority to rescind them and recall appointments.

The motivation behind this structure and every decision is to provide a safeguard to ensure that generations to come benefit by the same old-time Gospel and sound Bible doctrine that has so blessed each of us.

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the current DR board of Alberto Smith, Gledwin Mills, Luis Reid Payne, Edwin Gilfillary, and Andres Pichardo, met with Tim DeBusk, Director of Caribbean Work, and myself, Superintendent General. In the meeting, it was agreed that Alberto Smith would retire from the roles of DR District Superintendent and board member for health reasons and be succeeded by Gledwin Mills. It was further agreed that this change of leadership take effect immediately, with a formal installation service to be conducted in the La Romana church as soon as the schedules of Brother Tim and myself allow us to return to the DR.

The service of Brother Alberto has been appreciated. He was the first in our Thursday meeting to respond to my proposal that he retire and be succeeded by Brother Mills. He wholeheartedly supported the proposal and assured Brother Mills of his support. We want to honor Brother Alberto’s endorsement of this proposal. The work of the Lord in the Dominican Republic has expanded on his watch. We are thankful for his evangelistic spirit and that of so many all around the country who supported his leadership. We give glory to God for each success. We pray of all the best to him and his family. We love him and appreciate his zeal for God and will always have fond memories of his rich baritone voice. May God continue to bless him and Sister Sylvia.

The appointment of Brother Mills is the result of prayerfully determining that God's mantle of leadership has fallen on him. We recognize that he is highly regarded by all of you, being the longest serving pastor in the DR Apostolic Faith and faithfully pastoring the first DR Apostolic Faith location. He has the support of his own family as well as pastors throughout your country and beyond. We are confident that the stability and growth of this great work will continue with him at the helm. Please assure him of your prayerful support. May the Spirit of God be poured out upon this host of witnesses today and in the days to come as Jesus tarries. The Lord bless you all.