December 4, 2020 | Port of Spain, Trinidad | Mark Braithwaite
The Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (CARU), in appreciation of the significant contribution of its pastors during the COVID -19 pandemic, arranged a virtual recognition service. The service took place on Sunday, November 1, 2020. The pandemic has made the year 2020 a challenging one with the disease impacting just about every aspect of life, including the church.
The administration of the South Leeward Conference observed the potential impact of the pandemic and thus engaged its directors and pastors on approaches aimed at mitigating the negative effects of the pandemic. Pastors had to rethink the way they did ministry. Once lockdowns were instituted, regular church operations were totally inadequate.
The impact of this reorganization on pastors was difficult. Long hours had to be spent learning software for communicating with leaders. Pastors had to train and retrain leaders and find new communication methods.
Through the difficulty, pastors effectively ministered to members and were able to keep their congregations together so that when churches were allowed to reopen, congregations were still vibrant and active. This appeared to be the general trend throughout the 10 fields of the Caribbean Union. As such, the Ministerial department of the CARU was compelled to recognize the outstanding efforts of the pastors.
In preparation for the appreciation service, all fields of the Union were asked to choose a color. The South Leeward Conference selected the color yellow/gold. The spouses’ coordinator of the South Leeward Conference, Michelle Greene, along with the Ministerial Secretary, Dr. Mark L. Braithwaite, suggested that the pastors of each island meet together. In Antigua, the pastors met at the St. John’s Seventh-day Adventist Church, dressed in their colors.
The program consisted of poems, special selections, and encouraging words from various leaders. Greetings were shared from Dr. Elie Henry and Dr. Josney Rodriguez, president and Ministerial Secretary of the Inter-American Division. Tributes were also given by Pastor Everett Brown and Dr Joseph Smith, president and Ministerial Secretary of the Jamaica Union.
One of the highlights of the appreciation service was the slide show of pastors and their families from the entire Union. During this feature, Pastor Melanie Rodgers and her
husband, Jonathan, were honored for being the longest married pastoral couple in the Caribbean Union, The Rodgers celebrated 42 plus years of marital bliss in 2020.
The evening came to a close with the president of the Caribbean Union, Dr. Kern Tobias and his wife, Linda Tobias, sharing a beautiful vote of thanks. From all accounts, the pastors’ appreciation service was a thoughtful and meaningful gesture.