February 5, 2021 | St. John’s, Antigua| Carson Greene, President
The South Leeward Conference of Seventh-day Adventists began 2021 with two weeks of leadership training for all church officers across the conference territory, in what was termed “Leadership Symposium 2021.” The online event was designed to satisfy several training initiatives as outlined the Conference’s strategic plan. Balancing the conference’s calendar is always a challenging task. There are increasing demands on the member’s time with the Caribbean Union and the Inter-American Division all hosting several events throughout the year. The Conference administration therefore organized the major training event, concentrated over the first two weeks of the new year. The symposium provided the necessary training for officers and also freed up the calendar for individual congregations to have more time to focus on local ministry initiatives.
The symposium ran from 2pm to 8:40pm on Sundays, 4pm to 6:30pm on Sabbaths and 5pm to 8:40pm on weekdays. In addition to providing instruction and information on how local church departments and officers are to function, a number of certifications were done. The leaders who benefited from the certifications were Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses, as well as leaders from other departments such Sabbath School, Children Ministries and Adventist Youth. How was it possible to train church officers across the various departments and complete several certifications all at that same time? The first step was to carefully arrange the timetable to fit within the timeframe. Because it was understood that several members hold more than one office and would have clashing seminars, it was determined that the seminars would be repeated in the same order during week two. In that way, members had the opportunity to make different choices during the second week and thus complete the training that they were unable to do in week one.
Pre-registration for each course allowed for persons to be placed in different rooms, ahead of time, on the zoom platform. Once members logged on to the platform, they also had the privilege of selecting the rooms they desired based on the course offerings. There were three to four periods each day with as many as six courses running at the same time.
One of the unique features of this symposium was the wide range of facilitators who were engaged in the training. In addition to the administrators, directors and pastors from the Conference, we had directors from several other fields across the Caribbean Union Conference, Union administrators and directors, Inter- American Division directors and personnel from the General Conference. There were also other facilitators from academic and professional institutions.
The response from the participants was one of appreciation and gratitude. There was a general sense of satisfaction from the membership. The symposium was a demonstration of cooperation, networking and teamwork. From the administration’s perspective it was meaningful to know that the opportunity was provided for all officers to receive the training necessary to fulfill their respective responsibilities.