Atlantic Caribbean Union

The Atlantic Caribean Union Formed

In a solemn and impressive ceremony on Monday, November 29, 2010, more than 20 Bahamian delegates along with the 300 plus delegates from the Adventist churches in the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Jamaica witnessed the dissolution of the West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the birth of two new Unions.

This historic occasion took place at the Northern Caribbean University Gymnatorium in Mandeville, Jamaica during the fourteenth (sixth quinquennial) and final session of the West Indies Union Conference.
Prior to this, the 104-year-old West Indies Union Conference was made up of the churches in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Jamaica and had a combined membership of over 270,000. However, as a result of the growth and expansion of the Adventist Church in the West Indies Union, delegates at the General Conference Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that was held during June 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia, voted to restructure the West Indies Union to form two new Unions: the Jamaica Union Conference (JAMU) and the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission (ACUM).
With headquarters in Mandeville, Jamaica, JAMU consists of the Adventist churches in Jamaica and has a membership of about 250,000. Headquartered in Nassau, Bahamas, ACUM is made up of the Adventist churches in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands and has a combined membership of nearly 25,000. The memorable ceremony of separation officially brought to an end the West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and began JAMU and ACUM.
Symbolizing the separation of the territories, as the respective country’s national anthem was being sung, the Bahamian, Caymanian, and Turks and Caicos Island flags were lowered by Master Guides who ceremoniously delivered them first to Pastor Derek Bignall, the then President of the West Indies Union. He then presented the flags to Pastor Israel Leito, President of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, who presented them to Pastor Leonard Johnson, President of ACUM. Pastor Johnson, in turn, presented the flags to the respective presidents of the fields within the ACUM. Forming a color guard for the Master Guides were the former conference and union presidents of West Indies Union as well as its executive committee members.
Also during the ceremony, the then Secretary and Treasurer of the West Indies Union, Pastor Glen Samuels and Ms. Carmelita Finley, both turned over to the new Secretary and Treasurer of ACUM, Pastor Peter Kerr and Mr. Roderick Sands respectively, the official record of members and workers and the assets of the new union.
According to Pastor Leito, who presided over the auspicious event, Andrews Hospital, one of the institutions of West Indies Union located in Kingston, Jamaica, will be owned and operated by JAMU. Meanwhile, Northern Caribbean University, the other West Indies Union institution, will be jointly owned and operated by JAMU and ACUM. Pastor Johnson and Pastor Bignall signed an accord to this effect.
Following the ceremony of separation, delegates to the first session of ACUM assembled to elect its directors and executive committee members who will govern the affairs of the new Union for the next five years. Dr. Leonard Johnson, Pastor Peter Kerr, and Bro. Roderick Sands were appointed as President, Executive Secretary, and Treasurer respectively during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Inter-American Division held at the 59th session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Atlanta on July 1, 2010.
JAMU and ACUM are a part of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. It is made up of 21 Unions and records a membership of 3.3 million. The Adventist World Church reports a membership of more than 16 million members. -Dr. Cheryl Rolle, Editor