Nassau, The Bahamas | Inter-American Division Staff

President of the Adventist Church in the Atlantic Caribbean, Leonard Johnson, received the Queen’s New Year Honor award during a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace in London, England, on June 22, 2016. Johnson was awarded the Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) medal—an award granted to men and women of high office, or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country.

Johnson was one of two recipients for the CMG honor along with 24 other Bahamians on the annual queen’s New Year’s Honors list announced earlier this year. He is the first Seventh-day Adventist minister to receive the CMG medal in the Bahamas.

“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 term in 2015, as president of the Adventist Church in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and The Turks and Caicos Islands.

Johnson’s 34 years of service has included positions as conference president from 2003 to 2010 in the Bahamas as well as a church pastor.

Born on Polemus Street in the heart of the inner city of Grant’s Town in Nassau, Bahamas, Johnson never imagined being a leader of a church, and much less the Seventh-day Adventist Church since he was a member of the Baptist denomination as a young boy.

“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,” said Johnson. “This high and significant recognition without question must be attributed to God and by extension, His church.”

Johnson was among government and religious leaders taking part in the country’s 43rd anniversary of independence at Rawson Square, in Nassau, Bahamas, on July 9, 2016. He prayed for the nation, leaders and its citizens during the televised ceremony.