By Pauline Joe-Drakes/ATCU Communication Department
“Although we are separated by water, we are united by a common thread as Adventist teachers and administrators and that is accomplishing the goal of nurturing our children into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Cheryl Rolle, education director of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) as she officially opened the Atlantic Caribbean Union Teachers’ Retreat aboard the Carnival Victory Cruise Line on March 26, 2018.
Under the theme Anchored in Christ, the Heart of Adventist Education, over 100 teachers, school administrators, and counselors from Bahamas Academy in the South Bahamas Conference; Cayman Academy in the Cayman Islands Conference; Grand Bahama Academy in the North Bahamas Conference; and Maranatha Academy in the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission attended the four-day retreat that was organized to reaffirm the commitment to the purpose of Adventist education and to express heartfelt appreciation to the teachers.
At the welcome reception, Dr. Rolle revealed that while she hoped the teachers experienced professional growth, made new friends, and created lasting memories of laughter and delightful discoveries, the main objective was to provide opportunities for teachers to get even closer to Christ.
“By means of the inspiring devotional messages, the interaction with colleagues, the breathtaking beauty of the ocean, we want you to relax, to be still, to destress so that you can hear God’s reassuring voice telling you once again, I love you. A stronger bond with Christ is what we really want for all of us. All of us anchored anew in Christ,” Dr. Rolle explained.
Educators were fully engaged away from the regular rigors of the normal school day as they first connected with God and then with their colleagues. Daily devotions, led by Pastor Theodore Basil Sturrup of the South Bahamas Conference, encouraged attendees to always be mindful of the power of focus and to never minimize their high calling as educators. He reminded the teachers to always put God first as Matthew 6:33 states. “You’re either going to chase things or you are going to chase God,” he said. Pastor Sturrup further explained that God will supply everything that will be needed once He is first.
Professional growth and collegial interaction occurred through the daily table topic discussions and the individual school presentations on the educational practices or strategies being implemented at the respective institutions. Teachers exchanged opinions on such issues as cell phone use in schools, retention, homework policy, and the pros and cons of zero-tolerance policies. Ideas for enriching teaching were gained from the following presentations: Bahamas Academy – “The Importance of Literacy and Technology in the 21st Century Classroom;” Cayman Academy – “Applying Appropriate Strategies to Enhance Learning;” Grand Bahama Academy – “It Works! (The BWI Lesson Plan);” and Maranatha Academy – “Utilizing Gamification in the Classroom.”
Educators of ATCU were able to renew their minds and relax as they fellowshipped and visited the two ports of call – Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico. There is no doubt that the teachers are waiting with bated breaths for the next opportunity to once again unite for professional development and relaxation.
“This time helped me to recalibrate and truly understand my calling and my responsibility to my students as God’s children,” said a teacher.
The Education Department of the ATCU hosts either a teachers’ retreat or convention every five years. This is the second collegial gathering of ATCU educators organized by Dr. Cheryl Rolle and her team of four field directors since the union was formed in November 2010.
View photos here
By Dawne Forbes
The executive committee of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (IAD) voted on Monday, March 26, 2018, to ask Dr. Elie Henry, who has been serving as the executive secretary for the IAD for the past eight years, to serve as the new president for the IAD. He will be replacing Dr. Israel Leito who will be retiring on August 1, 2018. With this action being taken, the IAD executive committee then voted to ask Dr. Leonard A. Johnson, IAD associate ministerial secretary and the Atlantic Caribbean Union’s (ATCU) first president, to serve as the new executive secretary of the IAD.
Dr. Johnson is now the second person from ATCU to serve at the IAD level with Pastor Al Powell from the Cayman Islands being the first. While Dr. Johnson is also the second Bahamian elected to serve at the IAD (the first being Pastor Leslie V. McMillan), he will be the first Bahamian to serve in an administrative position.
In light of Dr. Johnson’s recent election and pending relocation to Miami, Florida where the IAD is headquartered, the IAD executive committee also elected Pastor Peter Kerr, ATCU executive secretary since November 2010 and Dr. Cheryl Rolle, ATCU associate secretary, as the new ATCU president and executive secretary, respectively. The new positions will become effective August 1, 2018. Dr. Rolle will be the first female in the IAD to serve in this position at the union level.
Pastor Kerr began his early ministry in the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, serving as an intern in the Spanish Town district of churches and later in the South Manchester district of churches. He pastored the South Clarendon, May Pen, Portmore, and Old Harbour district of churches before accepting the call to serve as a missionary to the Turks & Caicos Islands Mission where he served for 20 years as president.
Dr. Rolle, a commissioned minister and an educator with over twenty-nine years’ experience, has served as a teacher, vice principal, principal, and conference education and children’s ministries director with the Adventist church in the Bahamas. She has been serving as the education, children’s ministries, and communication director of ATCU since January 2011 and as associate secretary since May 2012.
The IAD has 24 Unions, 150 local fields, and over 3 million members spread across 37 countries, including The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands which make up the ATCU.
Musical Talents Play Vibrant Role In
The Experience the Power Campaign
By Communications Director Patricia Ebanks
It was Martin Luther, the German professor of theology, composer, and ground-breaking figure in the Protestant Reformation, who said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” Luther also said that “Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God.”
Undoubtedly, music had a singular ministerial role in touching lives of the hundreds gathered at the Experience the Power campaign at the Lions Centre, February 4 to March 3, 2018, or of the virtual audience viewing via the Internet.
One could easily conclude that for many attendees and online viewers the power of the various musical ministrations may very well have been as impactful as the sermons by the international motivational speaker Dr. Ramon Escalante.
Indeed, as the prolific Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen said, “Where words fail, music speaks.”
At the end of the campaign 128 new converts were baptised, hundreds of invitees came to hear keynote speaker Escalante and to enjoy the music, while thousands of others were reached by robust local and international broadcast initiatives.
From one of the largest auditoriums on Grand Cayman, the Lions Centre, the music ministry’s repertoire ranged from a full chamber orchestra, to individual violin, flute, harmonica and guitar performances, to soul-inspiring choir, group and solo voice renditions, many accompanied by a live band of musicians.
Clearly, the organisers had succeeded in bringing to bear on the Experience the Power campaign the best of the best in musical talent from across Cayman’s Adventist churches and to a lesser extent from the local community.
This pictorial captures only a few of those highlights, as the rich array was just too much to contain in one press release. Photos by Patricia Ebanks.
By Dawne Forbes
During the week of February 10 – 17, 2018, the Adventist church in the Atlantic Caribbean region will place special emphasis on the Christian Home and Marriage. Pastor Peter Kerr, executive secretary of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) explains that the week is designed to fortify families and will emphasize two aspects of the home: Christian marriage and Christian parenting.
“It is important for us to focus on the Christian Home and Marriage because the Adventist church wants to strengthen, inspire hope, and bring healing to marriages and to families everywhere,” says Pastor Kerr. “We are seeking to prepare families for the Kingdom of God and help hasten the second coming of Christ.”
He went on to further explain that the week-long Christian Home and Marriage emphasis also seeks to incorporate the objectives and principles of Total Member Involvement (TMI), a program of the Adventist world church designed to empower each member of the Adventist church to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. In keeping with TMI, Pastor Kerr mentioned that the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists has introduced a program called Lord Transform Me Homes that “calls upon every Adventist home to be a place where spiritual transformation takes place.”
For more information about the week of activities, please contact the family ministries director at one of the following telephone numbers: Cayman Islands Conference - (345) 949-2647; North Bahamas Conference – (242) 374-2051; South Bahamas Conference – (242) 341-4021; and Turks and Caicos Islands Mission - (649) 941-8735.