ACUM Children’s Ministries Leaders Attend IAD Convention

By Karen Burrows/ACUM

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Under the theme “Fit for Jesus,” the Adventist Church in Inter-America held its first Children's Ministries Leadership Convention at Camp Kalaqua in High Springs, Florida from July 10 to 15, 2012.
Seven representatives from the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission (ACUM) were in attendance: Dr. Cheryl Rolle, children's ministries director for ACUM; Mrs. Diane Jones, children's ministries director for the South Bahamas Conference; Mrs. Linda Wright-Patrick, children’s ministries director for the North Bahamas Conference; and other local church children's ministries leaders like Mrs. Karen Burrows (South Bahamas Conference); Mrs. Neila Jones (Cayman Islands Conference); and Ms. Judith Pierre and Mrs. Almartha Thomas (Turks and Caicos Islands Mission).

Organized by Mrs. Dinorah Rivera, children’s ministries director of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (IAD), the convention brought together over 540 children’s leaders from about 34 countries that make up the IAD. Attendees participated in over 30 sessions designed to further equip teachers and leaders from the twenty-one regional territories of the IAD to work more effectively at leading children to Christ.

Some of the presentations were “Helping Churches Include Children with Disabilities” by Barbara Newman; “God's Dream for Children” by Gerard Carter; “How to Involve Children in Mission” by Pastor Samuel Telemaque; “Teens and Religion” by Linda Koh, children’s ministries director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; and “The Grace Link Curriculum” by the Union Children’s Ministries Directors.

Ms. Judith Pierre represented ACUM in her national costume from the Turks and Caicos Islands during the Parade of Blessings that opened the convention.

One of the highlights of the retreat was the Friday evening Agape Feast-New Jerusalem where attendees adorned white robes accented with gold crowns, symbolizing the righteousness of Jesus, and worshipped in a meeting room decorated to represent the throne room of heaven.

Special guests in attendance were Dr. Linda Koh, children's ministries director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Israel Leito, president of the IAD, and Pastor Elie Henry, secretary of the IAD.

Pastor Leito spoke during the divine hour service from Leviticus chapter10 about the sons of Aaron. According to Leito, it is the responsibility of every parent, director, and leader, to not only save each child, but to love every child regardless of race, color, ethnic background, or disabilities.

The convention climaxed with a certification graduation. Union directors received certificates and presented them to their respective children's ministries leaders. Dr. Linda Koh charged all directors and leaders to treat children special as they keep their eyes fixed on Jesus.

The retreat was a rewarding experience for the representatives of ACUM.

In speaking about the convention, Mrs. Diane Jones said that attending was worthwhile “because it gave us an opportunity to bond spiritually and plant lasting friendships. It also allowed us to network with many other children's ministries leaders. We will now go back and empower the teachers and leaders in our home conferences and mission.”