The Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church held its year-end meetings via Zoom on November 21-28, 2022, under the theme “Let Him Lead the Way: I Will Go!” The schedule of meetings consisted of the pre-meetings (November 21-24) and the union’s executive committee meetings (November 27-28).
Participating in the meetings were executive committee members and the Inter-American Division’s (IAD) representative, Dr. Leonard Johnson, executive secretary of the IAD. ATCU officers led the meetings from the conference room of the ATCU headquarters in Nassau, Bahamas.
A Time to Worship
At the commencement of the committee meeting on the first day, Dr. Johnson presented the devotional thought. Using Romans 3:19-26, he spoke about righteousness by faith and the assurance of salvation. He noted man’s dilemma of having fallen short due to sin, emphasizing that man’s only hope was Jesus. “Our people need that assurance. We need to give them this sense of hope, and only Jesus can do it,” Johnson said. He also reminded the committee of the importance of the Holy Spirit. “If the Spirit is in you, the Spirit guides and directs you. When you are led by the Spirit, you will bear the fruit of the Spirit. In Christ you bear fruit. It is a daily experience.”
On day two of the committee meetings, Pastor David Campbell from the Belize Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, presented the devotional message, using Ephesians 4:10-14 to highlight the work that God’s remnant people are called to do. He shared his experiences in evangelism and told of how he was able to plant four churches in one year. “When we work for God, when we preach for God, then we see that God works. As the remnant church we will face problems, but Jesus is all powerful and doing a work second to none. You are a part of a great church. Men will try to divide the church, but it is one. The different parts work in unity, and at the end, we will see what Christ will do as this church will triumph,” he said.
ATCU executive secretary, Dr. Cheryl Rolle, in presenting the statistical report, focused on the planting of churches, soul winning, and the implementation of the Adventist Church Management System (ACMS). Membership audits performed by the conferences during 2021 contributed to a decrease in the membership of the union. As of the end of September 2022, membership stood at 28,182. However, there were reasons to give praise and to celebrate as there were two congregations added and 768 baptisms at the end of September 2022.
Dr. Rolle said, “We continue to look to God to help us as He has assigned us to this area of the vineyard to spread the gospel. We must continue to work together to tell more and more people about His love.”
ATCU chief financial officer, Roderick Sands, reported that God had blessed the territory as it came out of the pandemic. At the end of October 2022, tithe was slightly down by 1.47 percent while offerings had increased nearly 1 percent. Sands said, “We give thanks to God for the faithfulness of His people, resulting in financial resources to fund His various organizations in ATCU and around the world.”
Conferences and Institution Reports
Reports from the four fields of the union highlighted the work of the laity in evangelism, community initiatives of the Pathfinders, and the planting of a new congregation. As a result of soul-winning efforts throughout the territory, reports indicate that over 1089 souls were baptized as of the time of the meetings.
Northern Caribbean University spoke about the spiritual initiatives and evangelism efforts transpiring at the university and the various community partnerships being undertaken by the university to benefit the community. In addition, the university church was able to move into its new church sanctuary.
Over the course of the meetings, the executive committee voted and adopted some key initiatives in seeking to continue to achieve the mission goals in the ATCU territory.
Year of Conservation and Soul-winning – 2023
The committee voted to observe 2023 as the Year of Conservation and Soul-winning. Emphasis will be placed during the year on ensuring that the members of the church are trained and equipped for being actively engaged in the mission of the church, spreading the gospel to a world that needs the Lord. Initiatives will seek to involve the members in personal and family devotions, and to nurture members of the church in their relationship with Christ. Various departments of the church will share resources for members to utilize in practical mission fulfillment initiatives during the year.
Cell Phone Evangelism
Members also adopted the cell phone evangelism strategy for reaching souls for Christ in the ATCU region. In this endeavor, the intent is to explore establishing a partnership with Adventist World Radio who will provide training in cell phone evangelism as a means of spreading the gospel and influencing people for Christ.
The committee adopted the program VividFaith. VividFaith will provide opportunities for young people and other members to serve in mission in another culture or place around the world. To learn more about VividFaith and get involved in this ministry opportunity, members can contact the executive secretary of their local conference.
Great Controversy 2.0
To reach communities with the gospel through the printed pages, the committee supported the dedication and distribution of the book The Great Controversy during 2023 and 2024. On March 30, 2023, conferences and local churches in the union will dedicate the GreatControversy books. Then, on April 23, 2023, there will be a mass distribution of the book in all the conferences of the ATCU territory. A digital sharing of the book via cell phone is being organized in order to include the youth and their use of social media.
Two key prayer initiatives were adopted. First, the committee voted to participate in the Global Adventist Church’s Back to the Altar initiative.
Then, the committee agreed to hold a prayer conference in ATCU that focuses on revival and reformation. Plans for the ATCU Prayer Conference in 2023 will be forthcoming as the union continues to pray together in seeking to advance the growth of God’s kingdom.
The 2022 year-end meetings concluded with a prayer of praise and a resolution of gratitude to God for the work being done in ATCU. Rolle noted, “Only through God’s grace have we been able to accomplish what we shared during these two days of meetings. As we look to what will happen in 2023, we have nothing to fear because as we look back, we see how God has worked. We look forward to 2023 with great anticipation, and we are looking to Him as we carry out His bidding.”
Pastor Kerr closed with calling the executive committee members, as leaders in this region, to pray for revival and reformation. He stated, “It must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. We must give thanks to God for His faithfulness to the church and give attention to what He wants to do through us in saving a lost world.”
With a membership of 28,182, ATCU, which is headquartered in Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas, comprises four fields, namely, the Cayman Islands Conference, the North Bahamas Conference, the South Bahamas Conference, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Conference. In addition, Northern Caribbean University, which is in Mandeville, Jamaica, is jointly owned and operated by ATCU and the Jamaica Union.