by Nelda Rose Dracket, Cayman Islands Conference
Ministers and their spouses of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) as well as field and union administrators and their spouses gathered at the Sheraton Hotel, Miami, Florida for an historic ministerial retreat during April 18 – 21 2014. This was the first of its kind since the formation of the union in November 2010.
Those who are constantly ministering need also to be ministered to. Jesus and His disciples saw the need of coming apart to recharge their spiritual batteries. Jesus said to them, “let us go on the other side and rest a while”… This was the objective of this retreat.
Also attending this momentous occasion from the wider organization were our devotional speakers Pastor Derek Morris, associate ministerial secretary of the General Conference and Pastor James F. Daniel, general field secretary at the Inter-American Division; seminar presenters Pastor Derek Morris; Dr. Willie and Elaine Oliver, directors of the Department of Family Ministries for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; ministerial secretary of the Inter-American Division, Pastor Hector Sanchez; Dr. Abner and Leticia De Los Santos, vice president and shepherdess director at the Inter-American Division respectively; Pastor Martin Weber, Seventh-day Adventist product manager at Logos Bible Software; Pastor Barrington Brennen, certified marriage and family therapist; and Paul H. Douglas, director of the General Conference Auditing Services.
The theme “Called to Serve” captured the sentiments of both speakers and listeners. The keynote speaker on Friday evening was Pastor Hector Sanchez who addressed the topic of ministers being empowered by the Holy Spirit for service.
Pastor Derek Morris brought this theme to life on Sabbath morning using John 14:13, 14: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
“Those who are called to serve in the name of Jesus are standing under the authority of Jesus, and if surrendered to His will, miracles will happen,” Pastor Morris said.
During this highly charged weekend, we were all reminded that those who are called to serve must become servants.
On Sabbath evening, in a banquet setting, many of the pastors were honored for dedication to their call to service for the period of 2010 - 2013. Awards fell under the categories of: Outstanding Pastors, Centurions, Outstanding Conference Evangelists, and Outstanding Union Evangelists. All ministers and their spouses received tokens of appreciation in gratitude for their service.
We were all invigorated and energized through the various seminars, especially those on family life presented by Dr. Willie and Elaine Oliver. Some of the seminars presented were Commitment in the Pastoral Marriage; Called to Ministry; Becoming Intimate Allies; Powerful Biblical Preaching I and II; Nurturing Fun, Friendship, Sensuality and Sexuality in Marriage; The Pastor’s Response to Intimate Partner Abuse; Solving the Solvable Problems; and Forgiveness and Restoration of Intimacy. There were also separate break-out sessions that catered to the needs of the ministers and shepherdesses. All seminars were timely and appropriate to present day needs.
On the final day, the presidents from the four fields thanked Dr. Leonard Johnson, ministerial director of ATCU, his wife, Denise Johnson, ATCU shepherdess coordinator, and the dedicated team of workers at ATCU for the outstanding and well-organized retreat. These were the sentiments of all in attendance.