Former West Indies Union President Passes

Written by Nigel Coke 
Former president of the West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Silas Napoleon McKinney, passed to his rest on Saturday, July 16, 2016. He was 89.
Pastor McKinney, who had been sick at home for several years, spent the last four weeks of his life in the Princess Margaret Hospital, Nassau, Bahamas where he succumb to his illness.

Pastor McKinney
A Memorial Service for the life of Pastor McKinney will take place on Friday, July 29, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at the Hillview Seventh-day Adventist Church, Nassau, and the Funeral Service on Sunday, July 31, 2016, at 10 a.m. at the same venue.
Known as a true evangelist, a champion for the cause of Jesus, and a vibrant church leader, McKinney was the only Bahamian to have served as president of West Indies Union Conference (WIU) comprising Jamaica, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the Cayman Islands. He also served as Chairman of West Indies College, now Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and Andrews Memorial Hospital, and also President of the Adventist Church in The Bahamas.
“I wish to remember Elder McKinney as the leader whose ministry and leadership was characterized by his commitment to the mission of the Church in WIU and his passion for the overall welfare and development of all sectors of the workforce,” said Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, as he reflects of the life and work of Pastor McKinney. “Our Union sadly mourns the passing of a great stalwart of Adventism. We place his dear wife and family before the Lord in prayer and pray that God would sustain and keep them as they embrace the blessed hope of renewing their relationship with their husband, father and grandfather in the resurrection.”
McKinney started his work in ministry for Christ 1956 when he served as Ministerial intern in the Bahamas Mission. Two and a half years later, he served as secretary/treasurer of the Mission and other related positions before serving as acting president from June to December 1964. In January 1965, he was elected president and served in that capacity until September of 1975, having taken the Bahamas through to achieving Conference status.
In October 1975, Pastor McKinney was elected to serve as secretary of the WIU Conference headquartered in Jamaica, during the period when Pastor Noel Fraser served as president.
“It is a most pleasurable task to speak about a man with whom I have had rich association for sixty-four years,” said Pastor Fraser. “He was a giant of a man whose life was filled with success in many significant areas.  He was a gifted pastor, evangelist, an erudite scholar, a great church leader/administrator. He was also a brilliant historian, a seasoned theologian, an authority on Bahamian grouper, a most interesting communicator and the arch-bishop of genuine Christian fellowship. Like the Apostle Paul he was a faithful soldier of the cross of Jesus Christ and even though his heart was large, there was no space to hold a grudge. He and his wife Ruth were the perfect couple.  He was my dear friend and brother. He will be sadly missed.”
After serving for five years as secretary of WIU, Pastor McKinney returned to The Bahamas to serve as a district pastor from 1981 to 1986. He became president of the Bahamas Conference for a second time where he served until October 1990.
In November 1990, Pastor McKinney was elected president of WIU and served in that capacity for seven year when he retired from active church work in 1997…41 years of sterling service to God through His Church.
“As a former member of the WIU Executive Committee, I had the privilege to witness Pastor McKinney in action as an effective chairman,” said Pastor Leonard Johnson, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission (ATCU) headquartered in Nassau. “There were few delays or unnecessary drawn-out discussions and debates.  He surely knew how to keep a committee going without giving the appearance of rushing the discussion or even denying wise contributions.  His sense of humour, coupled with a knowledgeable grasp of church policies and operations, allowed for smooth and lively meetings.  He was passionate about his church and equally so about the then West Indies College (now Northern Caribbean University). Without question, he was a caring and thoughtful administrator.”