Amidst the challenge of rebuilding after two Category 5 hurricanes, the Executive Committee of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) met from December 6 to 7, 2017, to review its response to the disaster while establishing the strategic initiatives that will guide the Conference for the next four years. It is the first time that the Conference Executive Committee has met since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the ten islands of the Conference in September 2017. The Committee has ten new members. “We are here to do the business of God. Amidst the difficulties our membership encountered, I am glad we can be here to convene this long-awaited meeting to give reports and set for the work,” said Pastor Desmond James, President of the Church in the North Caribbean Conference.
Attendees from the Caribbean Union (CARU) included the Union President, Kern Tobias, and his wife, and the Personal Ministries and Sabbath School Director, Pastor Ashton O’Neil, and his wife. The Committee paid tribute to and Tobias who recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. During one devotional presentation, Pastor O’Neil challenged the members of the Committee to believe in the God of restoration. In another presentation, Tobias reminded members that, “The work cannot be finished by relying on tactics. It is about reflecting Christ where we are and relying on His grace.”
The vision statement from President James called for members to embrace the reality of thinking big while being conscious of the enormity of the devastation facing the Conference: “Never in our history have we ever been so hurt. Our assurance comes from the will of God who has called us and empowered us to lead his work. That we will do with fortitude and aptitude in spite of our disaster.”
Department leaders revealed to the Committee how the NCC can comprehensively enact the Lord Transform Me initiative during the next four years. Their innovative plans and programs involved motivating church leaders and members to pursue a spiritual transformation in Jesus through a daily study of the Bible and a prayerful lifestyle. Central to this initiative is the adoption of the IAD initiative of reshaping churches as of evangelism. Local church leaders are asked to give attention to the 10-minute feature on Sabbath morning and lead the church into becoming a of evangelism.
The enormous task of rebuilding dominated much of the discussion during the meetings. Three church buildings were destroyed leaving members to worship in temporary structures. is still working with the church to navigate the way forward especially for those with inadequate insurance coverage. Additionally, the work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the NCC, led by Pastor Wilmoth James, was celebrated for the positive impact it has made on the lives of thousands of people around the Conference. The relationships forged with governments and civic organizations are the long-expected synergy that leaders and members thought should be the norm. In this regard, NCC ADRA Board was established to carefully chart its future.
With guidance from the Caribbean Union personnel, the Committee creatively carved out ways to shoulder the heavy financial challenge that will be borne by the Conference in the coming years. “With members displaced, still out of work and finances dropping, we see a challenge. It is the first time in lots of years I am experiencing our reality. I am confident that with God’s help we will see a turnaround,” said the NCC Treasurer, Sister Sanida McKenzie.
Several standing committees for the institutions and boards were voted during the meetings. Appointments for the remaining responsibilities were voted as follows: Pastor Hesketh Matthew – Spirit of Prophecy Director and Advisor to the President for Evangelism; Sister Linda Ambrose – Family Ministries; Dr. Henry Peters – Publishing; Sister Joseph – Education; Brother Mervin Rogers – Auditor; Sister Alene James – Shepherdess Coordinator; and Pastor Desmond James, Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI).
The Committee will review the progress of the Conference at its next meeting in three months. We invite members to collectively pray for the leading of God as we seek to carry out the mission which is to make disciples Christ.