Workers of Worth (WOW)! That's how the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica themed their Recognition and Awards Ceremony to celebrate the "Year of the Adventist Worker 2017", which was held at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Gymnatorium in Mandeville on Sunday, February 11, 2018.
Included in the two hundred and seven awardees were thirty-one employees in the Church’s western region headquartered in Montego Bay, St. James and which comprises the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Hanover and St. James.
Among the western awardees was Berzella Howson-Stewart, principal of the church-owned March Town SDA Kindergarten and Preparatory School in Hanover. She has been principal of the school for 25 years and was recognized for 42 years of service to the organization.
“I was really excited and very impressed because I didn’t know that they would pay any attention to my pre-train years of work,” said an elated Howson-Stewart who started working with the church in 1974 at age 17 after leaving the Savana-la-mar High School.
“Regardless of the ups and down I enjoy working for the Lord, which makes it so easy and enjoyable because I look at it as my way of pleasing God. Whether or not they had given me an award it would not have taken away from my determination and effort to work for God due to the opportunities it gives me to witness for Him.”
Howson-Stewart, who came through the system of Adventist Christian Education believes Christian education is important especially at the early stages of a child’s development.
“I think Christian education at this level is very crucial. It gives us as teachers the opportunity to mold children and help them understand critical issues. We use the Bible, and through the integration of Faith and learning, they can understand and see God through all the subjects that we teach.”
When asked what was the greatest moments in her life as an educator she responded by saying, “my ‘WOW’ moment was when the school was able to bring the building from a one story two classrooms to now a two story ‘L shape’ building with 8 classrooms, a modern bathroom and a modern computer lab facility.”
Two hundred and seven workers from across the church's Island-wide schools, university, health institution and facilities, publishing ministry, conferences and union headquarters were recognized and awarded for outstanding service, and long service ranging from 11 to 51 years as at December 2016.
The Adventist Church in Jamaica has approximately 1,500 workers serving in two institutions - the Andrews Memorial Hospital and the Northern Caribbean University - eight high schools, 19 preparatory schools, five regional headquarters and the Union’s main headquarters in Mandeville.