Elder Larry Bailey recently was elected the Executive Secretary of the South Central Conference. He succeeds Dr. John S. Nixon, who retired after nearly 50 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Though reared in New York, Elder Bailey actually is returning to the territory of his birth. He was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the third of six children.
At an early age, his family moved to Bronx, New York, where he was educated, from elementary school to Queens College, where he pursued a degree in electrical engineering. Little did he know that while he was pursuing electrical engineering, the Lord was pursuing him.
There came a day when he was asked to speak for the early morning prayer service at Oakwood College. While an invitation to share the Word of God at the mecca of black Adventist, Oakwood College (now, Oakwood University), is an honor for any preacher, this honor came with an unusual catch-he had to pay his own way to Huntsville from New York.
Undaunted-and unreimbursed-Elder Bailey made his way to Oakwood-and was hooked. Even though Oakwood did not have an electrical engineering major, Oakwood had Elder Bailey. He decided to transfer to Oakwood and soon thereafter, he felt the call of God upon his life. He then switched his major to Theology.
He graduated from Oakwood in 1974 and began a ministerial career in the Northeastern Conference that lasted nearly 4 decades. For the first 15 years of that time, he pastored in the New York City area. In 1989, he was appointed as Director of Church Management in the Northeastern Conference. In that capacity, he worked with the local Church Treasurers. He developed a software program for them that some Church Treasurers continue to use to this day.
He served as Stewardship Director, Director of Online Ministries and Information Technology and Assistant to the Conference Secretary prior to being elected as Conference Executive Secretary in 2002.
His administrative peers quickly recognized his God-given skill set and they asked him to serve as the Secretary of the Black Caucus and the Chair of both the Regional Conference Retirement Plan Screening Committee and the Regional Conference Secretaries Caucus.
Elder Bailey made a lasting contribution to youth ministries when, at the behest of the then Youth Director of the South Conference, Elder Joseph McCoy, he designed the very first Bible Bowl system. It was used for many years and was the model of the systems that are used today.
In 2012, Elder Bailey accepted a call to the South Central Conference. He pastored and renovated churches in Northern and Central Alabama, concluding with his appointment as the Senior Pastor of the Birmingham Ephesus SDA Church.
For approximately 47 years, his wife, Diane, has ministered along with him in his various ministerial assignments. A native of New Bern, North Carolina, she and Elder Bailey are the parents of 3 daughters, Nicole, Shantel and Dione. They have 5 grandchildren.
Elder Dana Edmond is Executive Director of the Office for Regional Conference Ministries.