The new year opened with two additions to the ordained ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Greater New York. Bledi Leno and Johnson Cesar were both ordained on December 22, 2012, at the New York Luso Brazilian Church in Queens.Church administrators, conference leaders, friends, and family gathered to witness the laying on of hands. Special invitee and the pastor to deliver the charge was Oliveiros Ferreira, president of the Central Saol Paulo Brazilian Conference, who had the privilege of previously baptizing Leno.
Bledi Leno was born in Korça, Albania, and raised as an atheist. At the age of 12, he was introduced to the Christian faith through the work of the first Seventh-day Adventist missionaries sent to Albania in the early 90s, Oliveiros and Elange Ferreira. At age 16, he moved to São Paulo, Brazil, where he later responded to the call to ministry. In 2004 he graduated from the Adventist University of São Paulo with a degree in theology and business.Leno has served the Adventist Church in Brazil as an associate pastor, chaplain, and evangelism worker, and in the U.S. in the Greater New York Conference as a pastor in the Luso-Brazilian, Jackson Heights, and currently the New Jerusalem and Ridgewood churches.He was married to the late Helen P. Bochnie-Leno, who lost the battle with cancer in June 2012. Leno is passionate about representing and proclaiming Jesus to the world through life and ministry while preparing for His second coming. He also loves spending time with family and friends, traveling and exploring new cultures.
Johnson Cesar is a product of Christian education. He is a graduate of Oakwood College (now Oakwood University). In 2006, he received a Master’s of Social Work degree from Stony Brook University where he is currently a doctoral candidate in social welfare with a specialization in research and policy analysis. Cesar is married to Farah Jean, D.D.S. The Lord blessed them with a son, Samuel Johnson Cesar. Cesar pastors the Bethesda and Mt. Sinai French churches in Brooklyn, and Les Trois Anges company in Nyack. Prior to his current assignment, he served Bethsaida and Sychar French churches in Far Rockaway and Westbury. He loves preaching and French literature. One of his favorite passages of Scripture is John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” His most cherished desire is to discharge his ministry faithfully. Steve Cassimy, Greater New York Conference ministerial director, presented both pastors to the administration for ordination.
To view more pictures from the ordination click here
—Rohann Wellington, communication director, Greater New York Conference