More than 600 ministry leaders and members gathered for the 2019 North Caribbean Conference (NCC) Community Services Convention, from January 13th to 16th. The event was hosted in the spacious facility of the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church, on St. Maarten, which was recently rededicated to the work of the Lord.
Ministry partners from the Conference, Union, and Division collaborated to inspire, educate, and reinvigorate the NCC Community Services members through daily devotionals, music, presentations, breakout sessions, and ministry achievement awards. Leaders were intentional about empowering the Community Services members to embrace their role as responsible mission leaders and Dr. Peters, the main coordinator of the event, stated, “Our goal was to equip participants with tools as they prepare for their opportunity to lead.”
As representatives, from the ten-island field, of the NCC shared inspiring reports of community outreach activities, Dr. Peters celebrated the enormous sacrifice made by members for the cause of Christ. “We applaud your sacrificial spirit,” he expressed with satisfaction.
Dr. Henry Peters, NCC Community Services Director, presided over the awards ceremony, during which 175 members were recognized for advancing the Mission of the SDA Church by meeting the needs of communities and touching lives. Dr. Peters underscored that regardless of the church ministry with which the honorees were affiliated, they should respond to felt needs and discover best practices relevant to their ministry.
During his presentation to the delegation, Dr. Alexander Isaacs, Director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) at the Caribbean Union Conference, discussed the details of a formal agreement between ADRA and the Community Services Department of the Union: “Through this engagement, we are committed to reaching all of the North Caribbean Conference and the Caribbean Union with the distinctive, Christ-centred, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness. Ministries operating with the ‘alone mentality’ have become the new normal. Spreading the gospel is too important to continue with this as our normal.”
On Sabbath, a dynamic message was delivered by Pastor Wesley Nyack, a SDA minister in the Cayman Islands. Pastor Nyack, who represented the Inter-American Division (IAD) at the convention, underscored, “God is with us. He gives us the power to defeat the enemy. We need to get back to that [sense of community]. People need to see that we are Christians by our love, by our actions. Jesus came into this world – He walked with us, with everyone — if He did so, why shouldn’t we? He preached through example – we should do the same.”
Dr. Peters recognized two youth attendees from Anguilla and St. Maarten, and affirmed their presence, “It was really a humbling and heartwarming experience to see them in their uniform. The engagement of our youth has greatly enhanced the scope of our ministry and more importantly, it demonstrates that as a church family, adults and youth can work effectively, together, to bring hope and restoration to broken lives.”
The Community Services Department is one of the humanitarian agencies of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Department meets people’s immediate needs through services such as tutoring and mentoring programs, health screening, personal missions, disaster response and other needs-specific activities.