The North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists convened its final plenary Executive Committee meeting for 2020 under the theme, “Leading through Uncertainty,” on its Zoom platform. “It has been an unprecedented year,” said Pastor Desmnd James, the Chief Servant Leader as he gave his keynote address. “The year 2020 had the promise to be the best of years until the COVID-19 pandemic invaded our plans, disrupted our programs and ‘busted’ our budgets. However, I am happy to inform you that the state of the Church in the North Caribbean Conference remains challenged but not confined or cast down. He continued by outlining the challenges and successes of 2020 to the church leaders at its November 31st meeting.
The President of the Caribbean Union (CARU), Dr. Kern Tobias, reiterated the thrust of the theme during his devotional presentations. Basing the devotions on Psalm 46, Dr. Tobias indicated, “During a time like this, we are called to demonstrate exceptional strength in God. We cannot afford to operate with fear. Fear immobilizes and makes us unable to function from a position of power. Yes, we will be careful. We will wear our mask. We will have social distance but, ultimately, we will not fear because we know that God is in charge.” Dr. Tobias was one of three Union officials who attended the virtual Executive Committee Meeting. The others were Mr. Hazelwood, the CARU Assistant Treasurer, and Mrs. Cunningham, the CARU Assistant Education Director.
In his report to the Committee, the Executive Secretary of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC), Pastor Wilmoth James thanked local church clerks and pastors for their dedication and commitment to accurately reporting on membership growth and service in the NCC ten-island territory, that operates under three government regulations. Pastor James outlined some demographics of the Conference, “In light of the general population of the territory, the Adventist ratio now stands at 1:12 - meaning every twelve persons you come across, one is a Seventh-day Adventist. The Church now needs to take time to see how we can reach those individuals living among us. With a church membership of 16,286 as of September, 2020, the Secretariat has been able to aim for statistical excellence. With the launch of the secretarial association in 2020, it is hoped that greater efficiency would be had.” He reported that 99.2% of the membership is now on the SDA Church’s global membership system and thanked the administration for its support.
The NCC Treasurer, Ms. Sanida McKenzie, reminded committee members that after the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) declaration of a pandemic, everything changed. She said, “It has challenged the treasury but despite the setbacks, the NCC was able to adapt and fund the mission with the creativity of the administration, directors, pastors, office staff and its many members. I must echo the words of the President who affirmed that our members continue to be faithful and God continues to bless and provide for the North Caribbean Conference.” The Treasurer presented an analysis of the financial operations of the Conference, over the past ten months, and praised the fiscal management of the organization.
The Executive Committee received organizational reports for 2020, reviewed matters related to the 2021 Constituency Meeting and voted policies, the calendar of programs for 2021 as well as evangelistic initiatives – including the “I Will Go” strategic evangelism initiative. The participation of the NCC in the CARU virtual evangelistic campaign, to be held in February 2021, was re-emphasized. During the meeting, moments were spent in gratitude to God and time was taken to remember the families of those who died during the pandemic.
“I am delighted to have been here,” said Dr. Kern Tobias. “The virtual experience is very unique. I thank the Administration for the exceptional work that went into preparing for the meeting. The team-work is applauded. The reports were impacting. The scope of work regarding the mission is commendable. The ability of the administration to solidify the financial viability of the Conference must be noted. The decision of the administration to correct its assets is commendable. Do all to enhance the organization and its thrust. Keep the agenda going and doing our best for God.”
The two-day meeting ended with a resolution of gratitude that was mindful of God’s continued provision for the membership of the constituency.