Elders to Conduct Baptism

Elders to Conduct Baptism

In light of the Year of the Laity, a number of initiatives have been launched throughout the Inter-American Division. However, one in particular takes place this weekend in the Atlantic Caribbean Union, and that is granting elders the privilege of baptizing.
Also, as a footnote, it is to be noted two of our fields, the North and South Bahamas conferences, will conduct a Festival of the Laity service to mark the contributions of their laity. These fields are following the Turks and Caicos Mission’s example, which recognized their laity a few weeks ago. Next weekend the Cayman Islands Conference will culminate the festivals as they award their people. The Union will join in with Cayman and award 4 outstanding lay persons from all 4 fields.

Historic Event
Of the more than 50,000 ordained church elders that are serving throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America, many of them will be accorded the privilege of performing the rite of baptism this Sabbath, September 28, 2013. This, no doubt, will be historic, as it will perhaps signal the first time something of this nature has occurred in IAD and in particular, ATCU. This act during this weekend is but one of numerous activities that have taken place during the past nine months to highlight the work of its active members of the Inter-America’s Year of the Laity. According to Pastor Hector Sanchez, Ministerial Secretary for the church in Inter-America, “This is a momentous date in the history of our church in the Inter-American Division and around the world.” Furthermore he says, “I believe this is the first time that a world church division has asked presidents of local conferences and missions to authorize ordained church elders who are currently appointed as such in their congregations to baptize in their congregations.”

Elders Are Very Important to the Church
The 50,000 plus active elders are responsible for assisting the pastor in ministering to church members. There is no need to convince members in ATCU of the significance of elders and their weekly labors of love. Were it not for such godly and committed men and women, many of the churches throughout the union, but especially the ones outside the various capitals, would probably be closed or greatly destabilized. Thank God for the hundreds of elders in ATCU. Again Pastor Sanchez articulates the church’s appreciation for such: “We are thankful for the men and women church elders who faithfully work alongside our pastors every week,” says Sanchez. “We want the world to know that they are important to the Lord and our church and their work is not only of filling out forms, and preaching, but they take souls to the feet of Jesus,” he adds.

Prerequisites for Baptizing
There are four requirements that the church ought to follow for elders to baptize on September 28, in keeping with the guidelines set out by the church manual. Firstly, the elder must have been appointed by his or her local church. Secondly, he or she is to be ordained. Thirdly, he or she must be authorized to baptize by the conference or mission president, and finally, he or she must have a baptismal candidate or candidates that he or she has brought in through Bible studies.
Even as I write, I sense a great excitement as elders are accorded this privilege. I caution each elder granted the privilege to note the permission is not ongoing. Each time a baptism is to be performed, permission must be granted by the field president. Nevertheless, I salute and applaud elders and look forward to the great report on Sabbath, September 28 from each Ministerial Secretary and/or field president. “Work for the night is coming.”