As the damaged churches in the North Caribbean Conference rebound from the devastation of the 2017 hurricane season, Christiansted Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church became the second church to be rededicated. Members triumphantly celebrated God’s faithfulness on Sunday, June 23, 2019, during an impressive service of thanksgiving.
In his introductory remarks, the church’s pastor, Pastor Earl Daniel, shared, “We join hearts and hands and praise God that we can come into this house of God to worship. We thank God for what this church was able to do in such a short time.” Pastor Daniel was delighted to welcome all guests. Attendees included community friends and sister churches. Among the officiants were local elders (Jasmine French-Thomas, Eileen Huggins, Horace Graham and Ray Edwards), North Caribbean Conference (NCC) leaders and pastors (Hesketh Matthew, Wilmoth James, Desmond James, Wynfield Ambrose and Timothy Leito), and Caribbean Union leaders (Ammaran Williams and Roosevelt Daniels, retired Evangelist). The church was grateful for the participation of music masters, Maisie Willie and Celeste David.
Built and dedicated in 1966 the structure weathered several hurricanes including Hurricane Hugo in 1989 which destroyed the roof – however, one year later it was rededicated. Members worshipped in the basement level of the building for one year and nine months, after being displaced by Hurricane Maria in 2017. During the hurricane’s onslaught, the pews, audio system, communion table, organ and carpet were damaged.
In an effort to expedite the rededication, committed members gave of their own resources to restore the sanctuary, without seeking financial assistance from the NCC. “We commend you for what you have done. You have proven that no matter what happens you will return to do better for the Lord.” commented Pastor Wilmoth James, Executive Secretary of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC).
Pastor Desmond James, the NCC President, delivered the rededication sermon. He stated, “Christiansted is the genesis of Adventism on St. Croix. The rededication of this edifice offers us the opportunity to recommit ourselves to being the lighthouse for those in darkness and a symbol of hope and peace in this community. In an age where people are losing their identity you cannot forget who you are. Remember where you came from and make sure that you stake your claim in heaven. For this church to have been given this opportunity over the past 82 years to render selfless Christian service and ministry to the members of the church, and the community at-large, is indeed an extraordinary accomplishment that every member of the church should be proud of. It is an achievement worth emulating by other churches.” The President also thanked the leaders of the church and the rededication committee for their sacrifice of ministry to God and the people in Christiansted.
“The motivation to organize this body came after the need for renovation was observed and mutually shared by the members of the committee,” remarked Horace Graham, First Elder of the Church. While acknowledging a debt of gratitude to many members, he commended Brunel Thomas, Maisie Willie, Doyle Ephraim, Sister Brooks and Deacon Anthony for their unwavering commitment to the church during the renovations.
The former pastor of the congregation and Special Assistant to the NCC President for Evangelism, Pastor Hesketh Matthew, led the Act of Rededication. Pastor Ammaran Williams, Ministerial Secretary of the Caribbean Union, led the solemn step of recommitting the sanctuary, its furnishings and members to the work of God through the dedicatory prayer.
Many members expressed satisfaction at the remarkable improvements to the sanctuary and resolved to rededicate their lives to God. During closing remarks, Pastor Daniel expressed his gratitude to the rededication committee and the church, “We are eternally grateful for the brethren who conceptualized the program we have here today.”