Government of Jamaica Grants National Honor to Adventist Pastor

Prolific preacher and president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Jamaica was the recipient of a National Award. Pastor Glen Samuels was recognized by the Government of Jamaica for his outstanding contribution to religion with the Order of Distinction, Officer Class earlier this week.

Samuels accepted his National Honor from Governor General of Jamaica, His Excellency, The Most Honorable, Patrick Allen during the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honors and Awards held at King’s House on Oct. 16, 2017. Samuels was among 171 persons who were conferred with national honors this year.

Pastor Samuels is congratulated by Pastor Meric Walker, Executive Secretary of the Jamaica Union. Image by Nigel Coke

Pastor Samuels, whose western region covers St. James, Westmoreland, Hanover and St. Elizabeth, is also the church’s main televangelist for the Word of Hope program aired on Jamaica’s TVJ.

Samuels, who lives by the mantra of the words from Mahatma Gandhi who said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others,” described the feeling of being recognized as a great one and praised his church for the work to humanity.

“I accept it [the honor] on behalf of all the people I have had the honor to serve,” said Samuels. “I believe that the Adventist Church in Jamaica is to be commended for its service to people of all classes, of all walks of life and I am just another member of the church doing what my church is asked to do.”

Over the past 34 years of pastoral ministry, Samuels has served the Adventist Church as district pastor, departmental director and administrator both at the conference and union level.

Known for his preaching prowess, Samuels is very often requested for speaking appointments across North, South and Central America, Europe and the Caribbean, but is well known in Jamaica for his large tent evangelism and social intervention series which has transformed the lives of thousands young and old from all walks of life. His evangelistic exploits have resulted in the planting of eight churches in the parishes of Trelawny St. Ann, Westmoreland, Hanover and New York.

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In Turks & Caicos, Adventist Church Continues Providing Assistance to Community After Storms

While Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Turks and Caicos are pending insurance damage assessments from hurricanes Irma and Maria, church leaders and members have kept busy helping their own and reaching out to those in need across the islands of Providenciales, Grand Turk and South Caicos.

ADRA volunteer and a shelter manager at the All Saints Mission Baptist Church in Providenciales, cleans the floor from flooding waters after Hurricane Irma. Image by Frantz-Ciscia Jn Pierre

“In Providenciales where I live and where the bulk of the church membership resides, some 90 percent of the homes were damaged by Irma,” said Pastor Michael Smith, president of the Turks and Caicos Mission. Pastor Smith’s roof collapsed, windows were blown off, and mud was everywhere. “It’s like that for almost everyone, with two hurricanes hitting one after the other,” he said.

All ten Adventist Churches across the three islands sustained damage and members are worshiping elsewhere every week. Two large Adventist churches in Providenciales are worshipping at Maranatha Adventist Academy Church—a structure that was built by Maranatha Volunteers International and the only one that sustained minor damages, said Smith. Other churches meet in rented halls, or outside churches.

The hurricanes knocked down more than 1,200 electric poles and restoring power has taken time in Turks and Caicos, reported Smith. After more than a month since Hurricane Irma, power is slowing being restored.

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In Inter-America, Adventist Church Creates New Committee to Coordinate Disaster Relief

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) began coordinating disaster relief assistance for the affected territory devastated by the natural disasters which hit last month. Ten of the 24 major church regions across the IAD were hit by multiple earthquakes in Mexico and multiple hurricanes across the string of islands in the Caribbean.

Omar Ramos from the treasury department at the IAD stacks water for a palette destined for Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

“We have never had so much of our territory affected by natural disasters in the course of a few weeks,” said Pastor Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America. “Churches, schools and member’s homes have been devastated, and restoring those will help the process of rebuilding lives.”

With the initial emergency funds already released to assist the church membership across the unions, in addition to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) funds assisting those in the community outside the church, top church leaders want to ensure that church members get the help they need as fast as possible, explained Pastor Leito.

To help guarantee this takes place, a special committee was established to alleviate human suffering and protect the lives and dignity of church members who experience a disaster.

The purpose of the committee is to look at providing relief for Seventh-day Adventists in the areas of the division affected by natural disasters, said Pastor James Daniel, vice president of the church in Inter-America and chairman of the IAD Disaster Relief for Church Members Committee.

“Seventh-day Adventists must know that the highest level of the church cares about them and that the church is taking actions to demonstrate that care,” said Daniel.

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The Seventh-day Adventist Position on Homosexuality

We reference an invitation sent to the Leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica to attend a two-day conference from October 12-13, 2017. The theme of the conference is “Intimate Conviction – an international conference examining the church and the anti-buggery law across the Commonwealth” with presenters and panelists from various denominations.

We note in particular that one of the participants, Dr. Keisha McKenzie is listed as a Seventh-day Adventist. While Dr. McKenzie may be a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we hereby advise our members and the public at large that she does not speak on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church globally or locally and any statement or utterance by her concerning the conference’s theme should not be taken as an official statement or position of the church.

As a church we believe individuals should exercise their freedom of conscience and expressions, which are God given rights never to be taken from anyone.

We believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. For these reasons Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.

Our outreach to mankind is non-discriminatory. We have in the past, and will continue to offer compassion and care to anyone, including persons who are in need of God’s love and desires us to guide them into a saving relationship with Him.

Published Articles

Nigel Coke

Communication, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director

CJC Youths on Mission Trip to Florida Conference

Since Monday, October 9, 2017, a team of 17 youths (14 from Central Jamaica Conference [CJC] and three from North Jamaica Conference) led by CJC Youth Director Kevan Barnaby arrived in Orlando, Florida on a mission to carry out various community services projects in the South-Eastern Florida Conference territory.

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Team of 17 youths from CJC and NJC on mission trip to South-Eastern Florida | Credits: Kimarley Walker, CJC

This trip to Florida by CJC youths is fulfilling a commitment that was made by the Youth Director of South-Eastern Florida Conference (SEC), Pastor Prince Lewis when he came to Jamaica earlier in 2017.

In March 2017, a team of 12 youths of SEC and their Youth Director traveled to Jamaica to participate in OSAY (Operation Save a Youth). At that time, Pastor Lewis said he would love to host youths from CJC on a mission trip to his Conference.

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Adventist Membership Grows Substantially but Challenges Remain

Seventh-day Adventist membership around the world is growing at an increased rate, said Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR) director David Trim, in the opening presentation of the Secretariat’s report. He was the first of several speakers from the world church’s Office of the Secretariat, during the Oct. 8 session of the church’s Executive Committee (EC) in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

Trim’s presentation, which highlighted statistical trends, announced that as of Jun. 30, 2017, the Adventist Church had 20,343,814 baptized members around the world. He explained that the increase includes the fact that an auditing process, which attempts to account for members who left the church, has slowed after several years of steady implementation in most regions of the world. Members’ mortality rates are also lower, he said.

The membership auditing process, however, must go on, said Trim. “Knowing the real numbers helps us to be good stewards, and assists us in our strategic planning,” he said. Membership auditing “is a vital tool in pastoral ministry.”

Trim also shared with EC members that member loss rate is quite high—39 percent or 2 out of each 5 new members. “Let me remind you that members do not usually leave because of theological differences but because they go through a crisis in life or experience conflict in the church community,” he said. “They might feel unmissed, uncared for, unimportant, and after a few years, they just slip through the cracks.”

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Adventists in Rest Store Impact Communities Through Health

The treat of rain could not damper the enthusiasm of members of the Rest Store Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Andrews Memorial Hospital (AMH) Outreach Team as they collaborated to impact the communities of Rest Store, Plowden, New Broughton, Cross Keys, Rose Hill, Wigton and Lottery, during a Health Fair hosted on the Church grounds, on Sunday, September 17, 2017.

The fair, which had to be postponed because of the June flood rains saw the entire Church ground transformed into a hospital with doctors’ cubicles, pharmacy, registration desk, triage area, pedicure station, ECG room.

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The Triage Area | Credits: Lisa-marie Samuels

“This has been a really fulfilling weekend.” says Matron Carol Morgan, Vice President of Nursing Services at AMH, and Chief Coordinator of the AMH Outreach Projects. “We are very happy that as a team we were able to reach the people from the various communities who utilized our services.”

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29 Adventist Churches, 4 Schools Flattened in Dominica

Days after Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean Island of Dominica, leaving buildings, homes, roads, and trees in shambles, Seventh-day Adventist leaders visited with local church leaders and members to offer solidarity, assess their needs and be updated on churches and schools. The Category 5 storm was one of the strongest to hit the island, killing dozens of people, overflowing rivers, destroying bridges and leaving the island without power, food, water, and communication.

The Roseau Adventist Church in Roseau, Dominica, lost its roof and was damaged inside after Hurricane Maria battered the island on Sep. 18. Twenty-nine Adventist churches were completely destroyed and only five can operate now. [Photo: Samuel Telemaque, Inter-American Division News]

“There is destruction all around,” said Pastor Samuel Telemaque, Sabbath School director for the church in Inter-America who visited his homeland on Sep. 24-27. “There are no trees, no more coconut trees, no more banana trees. You can see one end of the island to the other, it seemed so transparent,” said Telemaque, who grew up in Dominica and experienced Hurricane David in 1979, an event which has been etched in his mind. “I have never seen anything like this,” he said.

Sent by the Inter-American Division (IAD) with Pastor Aston O’Neil, Community Services director for the church in the Caribbean, Pastor Telemaque met with church leaders in Roseau, the capital city and surrounding parts of the island during the four-day visit.

All of the more than 7,000 church members in Dominica have been affected by the storm. “Our members need assistance in rebuilding their lives,” said Telemaque.

Need of Food and Relief Supplies

“There is a tremendous need of food, water, toiletries, materials for housing, and psychological aid,” said Pastor Felix Jack, district pastor in Dominica, recently appointed as the Ministerial Secretary for the East Caribbean Conference which services the islands of Barbados and Dominica.

Roads and trees were affected by the Category 5 storm. [Photo: Samuel Telemaque, Inter-American Division News]

“Many have sunk in the spirit of hopelessness and despair, and we really need to bring some measure of hope and relief to them and the community,” said Jack.

Nearly all of the 34 Adventist Churches in Dominica were completely destroyed, except for five which sustained damage but can be used, local church leaders reported.

The four Adventist Schools on the island sustained severe damage, reported Ursula Edwin, principal of the Roseau Adventist primary school. “Persons have vandalized and removed all computers and laptops from the schools, even books were taken,” said Edwin.

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Three Ordained to the Gospel Ministry in EJC

Hands were laid on three pastors in East Jamaica Conference (EJC) setting them apart for the Gospel Ministry and all the services of the church, at a special Ordination Service at the Hagley Park SDA Church on September 23, 2017.

The service was attended by hundreds of family, friends and church members who came to show their support for Pastors Marvin Chin, Joel Jumpp and Jovan Whyte and their wives who had positively influenced the lives of hundreds across the constituency since the start of their ministry.

The message for the evening was presented by Pastor Everett Brown, President of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

In his message, Brown said the ordination of pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is often seen and regarded as recognition of the pastor’s call to the Gospel Ministry but went further by saying he believed the men had been called by God himself for service in His church.

“Pastor Chin, Pastor Whyte, Pastor Jumpp, we firmly believe that God has called you to the gospel ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ” said Brown.

He commended the East Jamaica Conference and the University (referring to Northern Caribbean University NCU)) for preparing the men for service and was pleased to report that the “Union Committee had voted unanimously for the men to be set apart for a life of dedicated ministry to God and the people of God.”

In speaking about the work of the pastor in the Adventist Church, the top minister of the gospel said “pastors are placed in the church not to become part of an elite group but to train members to use their God given skills for missions and to educate and grow the church.”

“We are laying hands on you to preach and teach the gospel and for you to make disciples of men. You are not called to laud it over the members but to build up the body of Christ,” Brown said.

The three gospel ministers to be ordained were encouraged to model Christ in their ministry and   spend time on their knees in prayer to God.

“To succeed requires a relationship with God and requires us to be on our knees to receive power,” added Brown.

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The End of the Journey- Mission Panama 2017

As the curtains of the ASI Mission 2000 & beyond project in Panama neared its close, we took the eight-hour trip to the City of Panama to participate in the annual Adventist-laymen’s Services & Industries (ASI) Convention which was held August 16-19, 2017, at Riu Hotel under the theme "Committed to Wellness and Service.”

Special welcome and commendation to the group were given by Pastor Leon B. Wellington, Secretary of ASI Inter-America and former Vice President of the Inter-American Division (IAD).  Chief Coordinator of the Mission project, Sister Marvalee Franklyn, in giving her report of the work done by the missionaries in West Panama, encouraged the businessmen and women.

“As business owners, lawyers and health professionals, we must use our talents and gifts to help others find their talents and disciple them to fulfil the mission,” said Franklyn.

“We have a responsibility to lay plans to benefit those around us who are dying and going to eternity without a knowledge of God,” she added.

The group participated by giving an exhortation and a beautiful rendition of the song “Ride on King Jesus.”  Receiving special awards for

fifteen years of unbroken service in the mission field were Pastors Nicole English and Jamiel Blackman from the Tobago and Barbados contingency respectively.

Leader and coordinator of the Jamaican Contingency Elder Claudette Genas received high commendation from the Jamaica Union Conference (JAMU) President, Pastor Everett Brown who expressed how proud he was for the work of Elder Genas and her team from the East Jamaica Conference (EJC).

“The angels in heaven and Jesus Christ your savior, are very proud of you,” said Brown in his address to the group.

EJC President, Pastor Eric Nathan, told the group that he was very proud of them.

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