In another few days, the Seventh Day Adventist churches in Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat, will commemorate a very significant milestone in the history of the life of the church.
The South Leeward Mission of Seventh Day Adventists – the umbrella body for the Seventh Day Adventist churches in the three islands – will transition from a Mission to a Conference.
This comes exactly one year after the church celebrated its 130th year of Adventism in Antigua and Barbuda.
What does this transition mean?
In a detailed interview, President of the soon-to-be South Leeward Conference, Pastor Dr. Carson Greene, outlined that transitioning from a Mission to a Conference is an important step in the development of the work of the church.
He added that, in layman terms, “This signifies the growth of a child from infancy to adulthood”.
Prior to becoming part of a Mission in 2011, the South Leeward Mission was part of the Northern Caribbean Conference.
“In the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s organisational structure, a Mission is an intermediate level generally used for new groupings and in cases or situations where there is no significant human capital for self-governance.
“When a Mission is sufficiently matured, it transitions to a Conference status. A Mission really indicates that we are dependent to a certain extent on the larger organisation or the high region. When we become a Conference, it showed that we are matured sufficiently, we have enough financial resources, leadership development so that we can manage on our own,” Dr. Greene said.
When will this transition take place?
The transition from the South Leeward Mission to the South Leeward Conference will take place on the weekend of May 1-3 when the Seventh Day Adventist Church plays host to a quadrennial session in Antigua and Barbuda.
This session is held every four years where departmental directors of the churches come together in a business-like session to select leaders from various departments with the SDA church.
“In the structure of the Seventh Day Adventist Church we have several departments. We have a department for Education, Family Life, Youth Ministry, Communication, Personal Ministry, Sabbath School, Community Services that deals with outreach and other responses,” Greene said.
He further stated, “Now that we are becoming a Conference, it is a regular quadrennial session, but we are also transitioning. For the first time in South Leeward’s history, the delegates who are meeting in session will have the privilege to not just select the departmental directors and the executive committee, but also the administrators”.
This quadrennial session will feature delegates selected from churches across the three Continued on page 6
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territories, who will represent their congregations at the business sessions of the forum.
According to Greene, the conference will also see representation from every level of the larger Seventh Day Adventist organisations and all the Presidents from nine other fields of the Caribbean Union as well as the Inter-American Division.
What is the significance of the transition to the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?
Dr. Greene said, as a Conference, the organisation will take the lead in ensuring that the mission of the church is continued with the goal of serving humanity and organise the congregations in a way that will make them become more effective in providing a place for worship and also being centers where they can serve the communities.
“We put a lot of emphasis also on community outreach. We have a community service department and in addition to responding to humanitarian need in our society and disasters, we are focussed on developments and as a Conference we will be co-ordinating all of that. While we preach the gospel, we also have the practical dimension of the gospel,” Dr. Greene said.
The President also concluded by stating that transitioning to a Conference status will be seamless because the Mission was already performing duties as a Conference way ahead of the official ceremony.