March 30th was set aside as Elders’ Appreciation Day around the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) of Seventh-day Adventists. The 39 congregations recognized at least 229 elders in unique and memorable ways.
Pastors, local leaders and members carefully planned appreciation activities. Across the Conference, phone calls, text messages, emails, cards, gift packages, Sabbath lunches and dinner reservations were just some of the ways that churches expressed gratitude for the work of elders. Elders were presented with a specially minted pin and a certificate, to mark their years of service in the North Caribbean Conference.
The NCC Ministerial Secretary, Pastor Royston Philbert, stated, “Elders are on the ground day after day, interacting with the members so, in a special sense, they are the local pastors. Without our elders, the churches could not be what they are today. While they are trained for service, it is also important that we take time to recognize them for their sacrificial work since, many times, the elders are the ones who have to protect the flock from the hungry wolves.”
Pastor Desmond James, President of the North Caribbean Conference, officiated at the pinning ceremony as the constituency of St. Thomas congregated to say thanks to their elders. Pastor James said, “We thank you for your enormous sacrifice. Your diligence and dependability have left an incredible mark on the landscape of the Conference. We applaud you for your efforts and encourage you to take time to mentor young ones into ministry so that those who come behind us will find you faithful.”
Elder Arthur Joseph, of the Bethel Seventh-day Adventist Church on St. Croix expressed, “The day was a blessing and a spiritual one too. We were encouraged, and we thank the Conference for their recognition.”
“This is a new beginning in our Church,” said Pastor Philbert. He encouraged elders to care for the congregations and to disciple 51% of the members to reach the mission. He also challenged them to live what they preach, to lead many individuals into a saved relationship with Christ through baptism, and to mentor young people as part of the World Church’s Pass It On youth-mentoring initiative.