Atlantic Caribbean Union

Granddaughter of First Seventh-day Adventist in The Bahamas Celebrates 100th Birthday

Granddaughter of First Seventh-day Adventist in The Bahamas Celebrates 100th Birthday
By ATCU Communication Department


Born when one of the modes of transportation in The Bahamas was the horse and carriage, Elizabeth Moses, affectionately known as “Betty,” is the grandchild of the first Seventh-day Adventist in The Bahamas. Thanks to Adventist literature evangelists who visited the Bahamas, William Charles Antonio, a shoemaker and the paternal grandfather of Betty, accepted the Advent message. Reading books like The Desire of Ages and Bible Readings for the Home written by Ellen G. White prompted Charles and his wife to engage in further Bible study. These studies resulted in Charles, his wife, and their four children keeping the Bible Sabbath and hosting the first Branch Sabbath School in The Bahamas.
Elizabeth’s father, William Wilshere Antonio, was the youngest of the four children. He was baptized in 1912 and became a member of the Shirley Street Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nassau, The Bahamas. Wilshire married Olive Fountain in 1915, and they had three children. Elizabeth’s brother, Philip Glen Antonio, will be 97 years old on February 11, 2019, and Elizabeth celebrated her 100
th birthday on January 6, 2019. Elizabeth’s other sibling, Tessie Mae, is deceased.
Elizabeth remembers being taken by horse and carriage, along with her grandmother, parents, and siblings, to Sabbath School on Sabbath mornings in the early 1900s. “I never got the privilege of knowing my paternal grandfather, but I did know my paternal grandmother, the matriarch of Adventism in The Bahamas, Mary Griffin-Antonio” explained Elizabeth
There in the basement of the small church on Shirley Street, Adventist education in the Bahamas continued to grow. At that time, Adventist education only went as far as the 8th grade. Betty vividly remembers marching to the sound of “Pomp and Circumstance.” “The music was played by one of our older members, and her name was Vera Henfield, on an organ that had to be pumped,” said Betty as she used her hands to demonstrate the pumping action that had to be done to the organ.
“Being a Sabbath keeper at that time was extremely difficult as employers required you to work a six-day week,” said Betty. “I therefore became an entrepreneur, making homemade candy and selling them to business places at the time.” Eventually, the Bahamian Government amended the laws to make the business week a five-day one as opposed to a six-day week. Consequently, Betty was then able to seek employment. She worked in the insurance business and as receptionist at the office of the Bahamas Mission of Seventh-day Adventists and the Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists from which she retired in 2008.
Betty still attends church almost every Sabbath with her only son, Ian, at the Johnson Park Seventh-day Adventist Church on Farrington Road in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Celebrating her 100
th birthday with her at the Johnson Park Church on Sabbath, January 5, 2019, were the executive secretary of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, Dr. Leonard Johnson; the president of Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Peter Kerr; the executive secretary of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Leonardo Rahming; and the Governor General of The Bahamas, Dame Marguerite Pindling.