Adam Keough and Ben Pontanar Elected to Key Irish Mission Roles

Experienced leaders appointed following Dan Serb's Newbold College move

News July 9, 2024

24 June | Dublin, Ireland [Eglan Brooks with tedNEWS]

On Monday 24 June, The British Union Conference (BUC) Executive Committee met to elect two key Irish Mission leadership roles for President and Executive Secretary. These roles became available following the appointment of Pastor Dan Serb, as Vice Principal at Newbold College of Higher Education.

Pastor Adam Keough – President

Pastor Adam Keough, a long-serving minister in the IM for the past 22 years, has been elected President. Keough has served in the IM as a Pastor, Youth Sponsor, and Executive Secretary. Having spent part of his childhood in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, his ministry has spanned these two jurisdictions. Keough enjoys historical fiction, walks in nature, and passionately supports “the best football club in the world – Liverpool.” He is also fascinated with studying the books of Genesis and Exodus and enjoys placing the biblical story within the historical context of its time.

One of his greatest motivators is to see others grow in their relationship with Jesus and their personal and professional lives. Keough has been married to Heather for 18 years. She was raised in Belfast and currently works as a classroom assistant. They have two children – Olivia, who is 16 and entering her final year of the Leaving Certificate, and Jacob, who is 12 and starting secondary school in September.

In this photo of the Irish Mission ministry team in February 2015, first and fourth from left is Adam Keough, and Ben Pontanar respectively.

Pastor Ben Pontanar – Executive Secretary

Since Pastor Keough was serving as the IM Executive Secretary, the Executive Committee also elected a replacement for this position, Pastor Ben Pontanar, a dedicated and experienced individual. Pontanar’s journey in ministry began at a young age, deeply rooted in the Adventist community. As a fourth-generation Adventist, he was born in General Santos, a fishing port city in the southernmost part of the Philippines. His family’s active involvement in local ministries shaped his early years, leading him to participate in evangelistic events as a Bible reader, child preacher, and youth evangelist. These formative experiences paved the way for his future in ministry, culminating in a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from South Philippine Adventist College.

Pontanar went on to serve in many areas of ministry as a Literature Evangelist group leader, Bible Worker, Bible Instructor, College Dean of Men, Theology Instructor, and Head of Theology in the Philippine island of Mindanao, particularly at South Philippine Adventist College, before being called to serve in the Irish Mission in 2008. He has been a pastor in the Irish Mission for almost 16 years and has served in churches and districts in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Pontanar is passionate about what he considers “the heart of Christianity and Adventism: grace and hope.” He believes that these are the most powerful forces to transform lives and to have the “most practical and positive influence on the people around us while we wait for Jesus’ second coming.” He is married to Joy, with whom he has two boys: Ron, who is studying Linguistics and Social Anthropology at university, and their youngest, Luke, who is home-schooled.

Please remember Pastor Keough and Pastor Pontanar in your prayers as they transition into their new roles.


The original version of this story was published by the British Union Conference News.
[Photos: courtesy of BUC Communication and David Neal].

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