June 18, 2021 | St. John’s, Antigua I Shereen Braithwaite
On Sabbath, June 5, 2021, the Ministerial department of the South Leeward Conference (SLC) held an ordination service at the St. John’s Seventh-day Adventist Church. What was so special about this ordination service? It was special because this was the first virtual ordination service held by the South Leeward Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The attendance included ministerial families from Antigua and across SLC, officials from the Caribbean Union Conference (CARU) and congregations across the globe.
The service was similar to a five-course dining experience with the appetizer being a prelude performed by the St. John’s Seventh-day Adventist praise team. With pomp and circumstance, the administrators, directors, pastors and all spouses proceeded up the center aisle, being serenaded, as it were, by the praise team. Once everyone was in their respective positions, the gathering was greeted by Dr. Wayne Knowles, executive secretary of SLC.
Each item added a special touch to the serenity of the service. From the scripture reading, done virtually by Pastor Nixon Louis, the Montserrat coordinator, to the prayer offered by Pastor Bertie Henry, treasurer, CARU and then to the remarks by Dr. Carson L. Greene, president of SLC. Tiffany Smith reminded all that ‘People need the Lord’ as she served her item in song on a silver platter with lots of “praise sauce”.
Dr. Kern Tobias, president of the CARU, presented the first power-packed entrée under the title, “Follow me, only if I follow Christ.” He admonished the ordinands to forget selfish ambitions and attitudes and to focus on Christ. His charge was simple, yet profound: “Believe in Christ. Belong to Christ. Behave like Christ.” He assured the ordinands and all pastors that if this becomes their mantra, anyone who follows them will indeed be following Christ.
Entrée, part two, was the presentation and ordination prayer of the candidates and their spouses. First, the ordinands were presented. Each couple was escorted to the platform by individuals who have positively influenced their ministry. The ordinands were Pastor Laurenge and Mrs. Makeda Challenger, Pastor Prince and Mrs. Yuliecia Harris, Pastor Chalvar and Mrs. Nadia Henry, and Pastor Amory and Mrs. Nickeitha Walker. Second in this section of ceremony was the prayer by Pastor Johnson Frederick, executive secretary (CARU). Pastor Frederick laid down a prayer as was never heard before. He petitioned God to make the ordinands become more powerful preachers of the gospel who will be bold servants in delivering persons from the enemy. He reminded everyone that the darker the times we live in, the more powerful the light of God that these pastors must shine wherever they are called to serve.
Pastor Ammaran Williams, Ministerial Secretary of CARU, served the ordination charge. He reminded the newly ordained ministers that they have been called to be servants. A servant, he underscored, is one who is called to be like Jesus, to know what He teaches and whom He teaches, and finally, to live like his Master.
Pastor Laurenge Challenger was chosen to give the response and that he did from deep within his soul. Recognition was given to family members, mentors and other church members who have made an indelible mark on their lives and shaped them to become the pastors that they are today.
“Sisters”, a female group of pastoral spouses, served the toast in a song entitled, ‘Touch me Lord,’ while official words of welcome were given by Dr. Carson Greene and Mrs. Michelle Greene (pastoral spouses coordinator for SLC) and Mrs. Linda Tobias (shepherdess coordinator for CARU). These greetings were followed by large servings of love which were poured out in the form of gifts of all shapes, sizes and colors. The final course was a sweet treat in the form of a pastoral quintet. Tenor, baritone and bass excited the palate of the audience as they sang, ‘Go, Preach My Gospel.’ Heaven came down, and glory did fill the souls.
Having experienced and enjoyed a sumptuous feast of a ceremony, the gathering was ushered out with the words of the hymn, ‘So Send I You’ and a closing prayer offered by Pastor Charles Heskey, retired Ministerial Secretary of SLC.
God be praised for the pastors who are now better positioned for higher service to Kingdom and community. Greater works are anticipated from their ministries.