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Local SDA Church now responsible for its own governance

Local SDA Church now responsible for its own governance

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History was created here last Wednesday, November 7, when the local Seventh-day Adventist Church’s administrative status was upgraded to that of Mission.{{more}}

The local SDA Church has been upgraded from the status of Region which means that the church is now responsible for its own governance and will be in a position to determine its future with regard to the employment of pastors and administration.

It will not, however, be able to change the existing by-laws and constitution until there is a further upgrade to that of Conference.

The church in St Vincent and the Grenadines is now the third territory within the Caribbean Union to be granted the status of Mission.

And last week’s ceremony marked the end of a process which started back in 2005 when the Eastern Caribbean Conference took a decision to ask the SDA Caribbean Union to reorganize the territories of the EC Conference, Pastor Cyril Horrell, Chairman of the Caribbean Union Conference said.

A further recommendation was made in 2007 for the re-organisation of the Eastern Caribbean Conference and, according to Horrell, the Caribbean Union Conference responded to that request by appointing Pastor James Daniel to supervise the process.

“We are very delighted for the divisional leaders who would have seen the work,” he continued.

So, in 2007, when the request was made, Horrell explained that the executive saw a lot of potential in the church in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“In the same year the Inter-American Division voted to organize the St Vincent and the Grenadines territory into a region and the union appointed Pastor Dermoth Baptiste to be the coordinator of this region.”

Pastor Horrell continued saying that in 2007, the new region held its first meeting and a coordinate council was elected, but the territory exhibited great potential and in late 2011 a valuation committee was set up to oversee the readiness of this territory to become a mission.

“This after it had been monitored for some time,” Horrell explained.

The committee was very pleased and made a recommendation that mission status be granted to the region.

The union in turn accepted the recommendation, Horrell said, back in November 2011, and established its own commission to study the recommendation with the union’s report being voted on unanimously for the SVG mission.

“That was voted on May 8, 2012 to grant mission status,” Horrell said.

Dr Israel Leito, President of the Inter-American Division of SDA described the event as being an historical night, as it only takes place once in a lifetime.

He explained that in the SDA Church, there was never the division of territories, but there was a reorganization of territories.

“And we take the lead in promoting this, because we want the church to feel that the time has come for independence and for you to make your own decisions,” Leito said.

“Tonight you are becoming a mission…you are strong,” he told the gathering at the SDA Church in Richland Park.

“God’s church needs to be free to make decisions that fit them better…no one can lead St Vincent and the Grenadines better than you, because you are here, you know the culture, you know the people you know the needs and therefore the sooner we turn this over to you, the better,” he continued.

Rather than having the instructions coming from other territories, we are telling you that we believe in you and that we trust you, Leito said, to allow for a certain level of autonomy so you can make your own decisions.

“We will only stand aside and applaud you…this will only be in the context of church organisation, discipline and church policy.

“Tonight we recognize the achievement of your growth … we see how willing and humble you are to let the Lord lead you,” Leito continued.

“The church has full confidence and you have reached a certain level of spiritual maturity and development”, he said.

Pastor Dermoth Baptiste will serve as the inaugural President in the new administration with Pastor Henry Snagg elected as Executive Secretary and Pastor Adele Clarke elected as the Treasurer. (DD)

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