Delegates to a Special Session of the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on April 11, 2022, voted amendments to the Bylaws of the Constitution of the North Caribbean Conference that would allow delegates to participate in a duly called Session of the NCC electronically if regional and global unavoidable circumstances prevent hosting an in-person Session. The unanimous vote occurred during a one-day, one-item agenda at the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Frederiksted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands.
“This is the first time that the North Caribbean Conference convened a Special Session,” said Pastor Desmond James, President, as he welcomed the twenty-five in-person delegates representing the Islands and Zones of the NCC, along with the Administrators of the Caribbean Union, who attended virtually.
Pastor James’s comment supported the devotional speaker, Dr. Jansen Trotman, a former president of the North Caribbean Conference and currently retired from denominational work. “Never were world conditions more non-conducive to the Church’s growth as it is today. There are about forty (40) different wars waged now. Satan has unleashed a plague called COVID on this planet that has messed things up and made it impossible to [do] business as usual. So, we may adjust our thinking to make it business as usual,” said Dr. Trotman.
Pastor Desmond James added, “We live in a rapidly changing world, and we, who are in the world, are not free from disruptions and challenges. We are here mindful of an unknown future and the challenges that would multiply in the future, but we are being proactive to realize that catastrophes will come, but the Church will roll on. We are here to adapt ourselves to be relevant in the future.”
Pastor Wilmoth James, Executive Secretary, who led the main business of the session, outlined constitutional provisions and regional cause that stirred the conceiving of the Special Business Session of the NCC. He further stated, “That the Church, through its constitutional amendment, is making a major step to overcome the future challenges and provide a laser structure that would shape the future of our Church.” The statement augmented the theme of the Session “Overcoming the Challenge-Shaping the Future
Pastor Wilmoth James presented the Business item “Constitution and Bylaws Amendment” to the delegates in session and read and moved the amendment to the Constitution and By-laws. Several representatives approached the two designated microphones to weigh in on the proposed motion.
Daniel Gumbs, one of the representatives from St. Maarten, commented that, in general, he agreed with the proposed amendment but noted that there were many adjustments still to be made to guarantee the secrecy of votes cast. He added that we must be careful in this era of profound iniquity.
Dr. Dwight Robertson, who represented Virgin Gorda and Anegada, commended the Church for looking favorably at digital attendance methods. “We are moving in the right direction. Of course, there are many details to be ironed out, but the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as this is the norm, should lead in this way.”
Mrs. Shirley Lake-King, who represented the NCC Executive Committee, commended the Administrators for bringing the agenda item before the members so that the business of the Church could continue, given our new environment. However, she stated, “Delegates should understand their responsibilities to meet their expectations.”
After the vote, Dr. Kern Tobias commended the Administrators and the Executive Committee for the extensive planning that went into the meeting. He said, “We are satisfied with the transparency and the comprehensive research done by the Executive Secretary. The opinions cited from legal fraternities of the islands of the NCC were indeed remarkable. We are satisfied that the will of God prevails in this important meeting and that the future can be shaped by a new normal.”
“History will view this moment and experience with great pleasure,” said Pastor Bertie Henry, Treasurer of the Caribbean Union.
Pastor Desmond James thanked the delegates for their presence as the meeting concluded, “History would reveal that you were the men and women who guaranteed that the church’s purpose and mission did not stagnate by crises but progressed into our preferred future.”
“It’s a historic moment in the history of the NCC. It was short but substantial,” said Ms. Sanida McKenzie, Treasurer of the NCC, as she delivered the vote of thanks.