February 13, 2020 | St. John’s, Antigua | Otis Browne and Mark Braithwaite
In keeping with the strategic objectives to ensure that elders remain on the cutting edge of ministry, the South Leeward Conference’s Office of the Ministerial Secretary arranged two important programs under the theme, “I Will Go!” The first part was the elders’ certification program and the second, an elders’ consecration service.
Each year, elders around the South Leeward Conference are expected to complete 20 hours of continuing education as a means of keeping them on the cutting edge of ministry. The Ministerial Department of the Inter-American Division (IAD), through the Every Elder Involved program, ensures that elders are educated annually in several areas of ministry.
During the just concluded, first ever, South Leeward Conference virtual leadership symposium, conducted between January 3 and January 16, 2021, over 120 elders participated in sessions that would lead to their certification. The sessions addressed areas such as the elder’s family, the elder and stewardship, the elder and communication and several other topics. This year, the main thrust of the elder’s certification program focused on the elder and discipleship. As a result of this emphasis, elders completed nine hours of instruction in several areas of discipleship and its impact on the local church.
After the conclusion of the certification program, the elders participated in a special consecration service. On Friday, January 23, the elders from across the islands of the South Leeward Conference of Seventh-day Adventists gathered together in one virtual space for this service.
President Carson Greene shared brief remarks after the preliminaries were done. In his remarks, he acknowledged the new and unprecedented challenges that elders now face due to the onset of COVID- 19. One of these challenges is having to adopt quickly to using online tools to conduct church services. Dr. Greene encouraged the elders to be faithful to God and His work, despite the challenges.
Following these remarks, Dr. Mark Braithwaite, Ministerial Secretary, shared the rationale for the service. He outlined that the program was conceptualized out of the need for consecrated leaders within the church.
Pastor Ammaran Williams, Ministerial Secretary of the Caribbean Union, was also in attendance, and he too offered remarks. He took the opportunity to encourage the elders in their service to God. The guest preacher for the program was Dr. Josney Rodriguez who serves as the Ministerial Secretary of the Inter-American Division. He preached a passionate, powerful and potent message which resonated with all attendees. He reminded the elders of their call to service and called them to be “living servants” of God. Following the homily, Pastor Rodriguez led out in the charge to the elders.
Retired pastor and former Ministerial Secretary, Charles Heskey, offered the prayer of consecration. It is clear that the elders across the South Leeward Conference left this service with a sense of revival, renewal and revitalization to continue serving the church faithfully.