Adventists Name Black President of Church Unit

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Lorenzo Paytee has been named by Seventh-day Adventists as president of the Southern California Conference of 129 congregations, the first black church official to head an Adventist regional conference on the West Coast.

Paytee, 56, has been vice president for administration since 1977. The Glendale-based conference includes 41,000 Adventists in Los Angeles, Ventura and portions of Santa Barbara and Kern counties.

Paytee, who has also been a pastor and the principal of an Adventist high school, holds a master’s degree in school administration from USC.


He was appointed by the conference’s executive committee to fill the unexpired term of Ralph S. Watts Jr., who was named as a general field secretary of the denomination and executive director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.

Watts was scheduled to be in Colombia this week in connection with disaster relief and food program duties, a spokeswoman said.