“You [the SDA Church on St. Croix] have been spreading your generosity to us for the past 20 years and we are happy for that,” said Yvonne D. Peterson, Executive Director for the Virgin Islands (VI) Developmental Disabilities Council, as she addressed over 100 attendees at the annual thanksgiving luncheon for the senior and disabled community of St. Croix.
Pastor Wilmoth J. James, pastor of the Central Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church, indicated that the church felt blessed by the presence of all attendees. Over the last eight years, the church has partnered with two organizations, the VI Association for Independent Living and the VI Developmental Disabilities Council, to serve the senior and disabled community of St. Croix. Felicia Brownlow, Director of the VI Association for Independent Living, expressed her gratitude at the luncheon: “I am happy for the church and its involvement with the seniors of the community. For what you have done for 20 years, the people and government of the Virgin Islands say, we are thankful.”
It was a very special day for one attendee Mr. Winthrope Hector, who celebrated his 101st birthday four days prior to the luncheon. Mr. Winthrope has been attending this function for the past twenty years and shared that, “[as an Anglican] where God leads in life, [I] follow. I thank God for the opportunity to share in the occasion.”
In addition to preparing a hearty and healthy lunch, the church’s Community Services Department found unique ways to impact the lives of attendees. This year, led by Ms. Bernadine John-Baptise, the department presented each attendee with the gift of a household item designed to improve living conditions.
Dr. Henry Peters, Personal Ministries and Community Services Director of the North Caribbean Conference, presented the spiritual charge and concluded, “While we celebrate the ministry of the local churches, we are happy to have been able to make a difference in the lives of our community. That’s what community services is all about.”
Twenty years ago, this thanksgiving luncheon ministry was the brainchild of Mrs. Roselin McFarlane, then Director of the VI Association for Independent Living, who invited the SDA Church to partner with the VI Government in hosting the event. Under the leadership of Pastor Conroy Reynolds, then pastor of the congregation, the Central SDA Church accepted the invitation and has since ministered to over 10,000 senior and disabled citizens on St Croix.