Atlantic Caribbean Union

Health Ministries

ATCU Health Ministries Department Holds First Health Summit

ATCU Health Ministries Department Holds First Health Summit
By ATCU Communication Department


For the most part, meaningful discussions on mental health are seldom held and often avoided largely because of the misconceptions surrounding the topic. Given the importance of mental health to the overall wellness of an individual, the Health Ministries Department of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists (ATCU), led by Annie K. Price, felt the need to focus on mental wellness and, therefore, conducted its first Mental Health Summit during April 1-3, 2019, at the union headquarters in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Dr. Carlos Fayard, associate professor of Psychiatry at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, addressed the role of church members and the clergy in providing support for those suffering from mental health issues. Dr. Fayard presented research data showing that a significant percentage of those who may be suffering from some form of mental health issue reach out to their pastor. This is noteworthy because it shows that the church plays a vital part in addressing mental health in communities. “They come to clergy because in many cases this is who they trust,” explained Dr. Fayard.


Dr. Sean Knowles, a physician in the Department of Psychiatry at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre in The Bahamas, brought awareness to addiction. He shared information on its causes and ways to address it and stressed the need for support for those suffering from addiction.

“Addiction to gambling is something that has become very prevalent in our region,” said Dr. Knowles. “And what is most interesting about gambling addiction is that the addict almost never shows physical signs of addiction.” Dr. Knowles explained that one of the most important aspects of treating addiction is that the addict must recognize that he/she has a problem. He further pointed out that it is very difficult to reach out to someone suffering from addiction if he/she does not want to admit that he/she has a problem. “I often tell people that addiction is prison where the locks are on the inside,” Dr. Knowles stated.

Dr. Stacey King, clinical psychologist in the Bahamas, and Dr. Carolina Osorio, psychiatrist with specialty in geriatric psychiatry, addressed the complexities of suicide prevention. Dr. King emphasized that many persons have had interactions with persons with suicidal tendencies and did nothing to help because they were ignorant of the signs. She, therefore, identified some of the signs presented by suicidal persons and explained what to do should one suspect that a person is contemplating suicide.


Dr. Osorio described how to relate to those who may have experienced mind-altering situations such as abuse and trauma and how to best assist them in getting the help that they need. Giving practical scenarios for the participants to analyze, Osorio shared treatment options that included things as simple as breathing to referral to a specialist. She also helped the attendees to identify agencies and facilities that can help persons with various mental health issues.

Belkis Archbold, health ministries director of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (IAD), emphasized the importance of following the Biblical laws of health in order to maintain good mental health. Good nutrition, exercise, drinking water, getting sunshine, having enough rest, and trusting in God are some of the laws of health promoted through the health initiative, “I Want to Live Healthy,” spearheaded by the Health Ministries Department of the IAD.


Archbold expressed excitement over the success of the summit, including the fact that the Pan American Health Organization’s Health Systems and Services advisor, Dr. Gustavo Mery, participated and presented in training sessions. “I am leaving with the hope that everything that we learnt in these few days will be used for the betterment of the church and the communities,” said Archbold.

The summit was attended by Health Ministries leaders and pastors from the Cayman Islands Conference, the North Bahamas Conference, the South Bahamas Conference, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Conference both physically at union headquarters and via live online video conferencing.


Participants expressed great appreciation to Annie K. Price, ATCU Health Ministries director, and her team for planning the event. “I believe that God orchestrated that the summit would be at this specific time to prepare us to help persons in our church and community,” stated Pastor Edward St. Fleur from the South Bahamas Conference.

Annie K. Price and the conference Health Ministries directors will continue to collaborate to provide support and training for their respective conferences as they seek to help persons with mental health issues.

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Daily Program at the Union Headquarters

Monday Evening Program at Hillview Church

ATCU Participates in Health Initiative Training

ATCU Participates in Health Initiative Training
By Communication Department, ATCU

“What does the story of Jesus casting out the money changers from the temple have to do with us living healthy lives?” asked Mrs. Sherline Henriques, health ministries director of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists (ATCU), as she addressed participants from the South Bahamas Conference (SBC) attending the “Train the Trainer” seminar on Sunday, April 12, 2015, at the Breath of Life Seventh-day Adventist Church, Nassau, The Bahamas in preparation for the launch of ATCU’s “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative.

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“Jesus wanted the temple to be a house of prayer, and in this same manner, He wants our bodies to be cleaned out so that it can truly be His temple and be used by Him,” explained Mrs. Henriques.

For 2015, ATCU has adopted the health initiative dubbed “I Want to Live Healthy” that will challenge church members to live healthy and encourage them to go out into the community to inspire others to do so as well.

The major difference between this health initiative and other such programs is that instead of church members inviting people to come to a health program conducted at their churches, they will be going to homes and communities to challenge individuals and families to follow basic health principles. 

Mrs. Nathelyn LaCroix, health ministries director of SBC and organizer of the event, explained that the health principles will be introduced incrementally, and those who will be introducing them as well as those receiving the information will work to adopt them as a part of their lifestyle. Therefore, if during the first week someone is challenged to drink eight glasses of water daily for 7 days, then at the commencement of the second week, the person would be challenged to add eating more vegetables to the newly acquired habit of drinking eight glasses of water every day.

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Pastor Peter Kerr, executive secretary of ATCU, represented the union’s administration at the seminar and indicated that the program had the full support of the union president, Pastor Leonard Johnson as well as the other administrators. He further expressed excitement at seeing so many health professionals and laypersons from SBC enthused about sharing the health message. “This conference is rich in talent and resources in the field of Health Ministries,” said Pastor Kerr who recognized a number of nurses, medical doctors, and professional nutritionists participating in the training.

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Mrs. Belkis Archbold, health ministries director of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, made a presentation on the impact that the “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative has had in countries around the world, particularly Mexico. “As a result of the program, schools have removed soda machines from their campuses and the Ministry of Health in Mexico has asked for the program to be introduced in the public schools around the country,” expressed Mrs. Archbold.

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Participants were trained on how to introduce the health principles and were implored to first be an example by practicing the health principles that they will be presenting to the people in the community. As a part of the training, Mrs. Archbold taught participants how to promote what she referred to as the four Pillars of Health and Reformation: Pleading in Prayer, Prevention of Illnesses, Practice the Health Principles Learnt, and Proclaim that the Healer and Master Physician is Jesus.

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At the end of the Train the Trainer Seminar, over thirty-five persons received certificates and expressed enthusiasm for carrying forward the “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative throughout SBC.

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Adventist Leaders Pay Courtesy Visit to Bahamas Health Minister

Adventist Leaders Pay Courtesy Visit to Bahamas Health Minister
Communication Department, ATCU

Recently, the head of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Atlantic Caribbean region, Pastor Leonard Johnson, along with other Adventist church leaders paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Health for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Dr. Perry Gomez to share with him the church’s plans to launch the health program “I Want to Live Healthy” in the Bahamas as well as the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.

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Pastor Johnson explained that for 2015, the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists (ATCU) has adopted the health initiative dubbed “I Want to Live Healthy,” a Seventh-day Adventist program that seeks to help communities adopt basic health principles so that they can live healthier and happier lives. "The church is committed to partnering with the government in helping to improve the quality of life of its people," affirmed Pastor Johnson.

During the visit, the delegation also presented Dr. Gomez with over three hundred copies of the world Adventist church’s missionary book of the year “Health and Hope” which will be freely distributed in communities by Adventists worldwide in celebration of Adventist Health Impact Day on April 18, 2015.

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Pastor Johnson explained that as the ‘I Want to Live Healthy’ initiative is based on the principle of individuals making health changes in their lives and then asking others to do the same, the delegation decided to present the books to the Ministry of Health so that they can first benefit from the valuable information before it is presented to the country on a whole.

Accompanying Pastor Johnson were the health ministries director of ATCU, Mrs. Shirline Henriques; the president of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SBC), Pastor Paul Scavella; health ministries director of SBC, Mrs. Nathelyn LaCroix ; and other health professionals from SBC.

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One of the health professionals, Dr. Alpheaus Allick, an emergency room physician and a member of the Hillview Seventh-day Adventist Church in the SBC, related his experiences in the emergency room where the government spends enormous sums of money trying to cure or suppress illnesses that can be prevented through lifestyle changes.

Another health professional, Dr. Idamae Hanna, stated that many times what people need is a lifestyle coach.


"Many people want to change, but often times they don't know how to," said Dr. Hanna. “‘I Want to Live Healthy’ is therefore offering coaches and support teams to communities in order to make lifestyle changes.”

Dr. Gomez expressed gratitude and excitement over the implementation of the program, stating that one of the major problems that the country is faced with is an increase in chronic non communicable diseases. "I have that challenge in my own home," said Dr. Gomez. "So, I know that the challenge is real."

ATCU Committee Votes Health and Ministerial Initiatives for 2015

ATCU Committee Votes Health and Ministerial Initiatives for 2015
Communication Department, ATCU

The Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) concluded its year-end meetings on Thursday, November 6, 2014, at the Breezes hotel in Nassau, Bahamas. The annual meetings brought together committee members from the four fields of ATCU to receive reports and vote plans for the work of the Adventist church in the Atlantic Caribbean region.

As a spring board for the union-wide health focus projected for 2015, Dr. Joseph Evans, a well-known Bahamian neurologist and lay member in the South Bahamas Conference, during his devotional message on Thursday morning, spoke about the link between preaching and living the health message and fulfilling the mission of the Adventist church: proclaiming the three angels’ messages.

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“Seventh-day Adventist health professionals must be encouraged to recognize that our health message should accompany the three angels’ messages,” said Dr. Evans. He further stated that for the pastors, health training should parallel their theological training.

Shirline Henriques, health ministries director for ATCU, in promoting the health thrust for next year, declared that some aspect of the health message needs to be addressed every week in the Adventist churches of ATCU.

Mrs. Henriques then shared with the committee the community-based program “I Want to Live Healthy” that will be implemented in 2015. The plan involves the training of members so that they will be able to effectively engage and empower the community to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles. The plan calls for the distribution of health surveys and commitment forms to the homes in the various communities.

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“After eight weeks, the residents ought to form some healthy habits and see some improvement in their health,” Mrs. Henriques said.

In addition, Sabbath April 18, 2015, is being designated as World Impact Day, with a mass distribution of the missionary book of the year. Pastor Peter Kerr, executive secretary and publishing director for ATCU, explained that on this day, each member will be encouraged to invite a friend to church and present a copy of the missionary book of the year,
Health and Wellness, to him or her.

The executive committee also voted to adopt 2015 as the Year of Pastor. Pastor Leonard Johnson, president and ministerial secretary of ACTU, shared several objectives for this emphasis: 1) to focus on the continued training of all pastors in the union; 2) to equip each minister with the Logos Bible software; and 3) for the more experienced pastors to assist in mentoring the younger pastors and interns.

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However, according to Pastor Johnson, the focus will not be on the pastor alone.

“The entire family, including the spouse and children, is important. Hence, the Day of the Pastor, which is scheduled for October 24, 2015, will be celebrated as the Day of the Pastoral Family,” Pastor Johnson said.

During the two-day meetings, committee members viewed a number of reports from the four fields of ATCU, Northern Caribbean University, and the different departments and ministries. In addition, the calendar of events for 2015, which highlights the major initiatives and special days for the union, was finalized and accepted.

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ATCU Conducts First Health Expo

ATCU Conducts First Health Expo
Communication Department, TCIM

Under the theme “Prospering in Health as our Souls Prosper,” the Atlantic Caribbean Union’s (ATCU’s) Health Expo weekend got off to an exciting start on Friday night, August 29 at the Blue Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. This was a very historic occasion, not only for the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission (TCIM), but also for the health ministries department of ATCU because this was the first time that a union program of this nature was being held in this field.
In his remarks at the opening of the expo, Hopeton Bansie, secretary/treasurer of the TCIM, noted the significance of the event.
“We feel very privileged to have this opportunity to host such an event given the fact that the TCIM is the smallest field in the union in terms of membership size.”
Pastor Peter Kerr, executive secretary of ATCU, expressed the union’s pleasure at having this health emphasis in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The featured presenter for the weekend was Mrs. Belkis Archbold, the health ministries director of the Inter-American Division (IAD). In her opening address on Friday evening, she underscored that the health message is a wholistic approach, explaining that it is not just about abstaining from eating meat, but that it is a healthy lifestyle that involves all aspects of our lives. She further emphasized that “when church members understand the real meaning of the health message, then the church will be ready to serve the community.”
In her main presentation on Sabbath morning, Mrs. Archbold stirred the hearts of the congregation to consider that the health message is also the right arm of the gospel. She shared an unforgettable formula: R + R + H = 4P (HLS) which stands for: Revival and Reformation in Health = 4 Pillars applied to a Healthy Lifestyle. The four pillars are (1) Prayer (2) Prevention (3) Practice and (4) Proclaim.
A part of the program involved video presentations from the four fields within ATCU. The reports featured the many activities going on in these fields and showed how people’s lives have been positively impacted due to lifestyle changes and the outreach in the communities.
The historic weekend climaxed on Sunday with workshops and how-to presentations by the health directors of the fields. Scores of materials were distributed including the new Eight (8) Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle. Hands-on instruction and massage practicums were also given. In fact, one of the local television media, PTV (People’s Television Ltd) came by to interview and tape part of the workshop for their news broadcast.
An attendee summed up the activities by saying, “the information about lifestyle and how to live happier, healthier and longer was great. And the chair sitting, hands-on massage techniques for relieving stress were easy to learn and can be applied to one’s family, among church members, and even at work.”
Pastor Michael Smith, president of TCIM, expressed gratitude to Mrs. Shirlene Henriques, health ministries director for ATCU, and her team of health professionals for organizing a much needed expo.
“It was quite timely and very beneficial for the churches and territory here in Turks and Caicos. Our members and health leaders feel more connected with our sister fields and appreciate the exchange of ideas. Members are more empowered and equipped to also share the information throughout their communities.”

Organizing the events for the weekend was Sis. Nora Tyndall, Health Ministries Director of TCIM and her team of health directors the churches in Providenciales. Special guests who travelled to the island for this special weekend were the Health Ministries Director of the Inter-American Division, Sis. Belkis Archbold, Dr. Idamae Hanna, Health Ministries Director of the South Bahamas Conference, Pastor Caple Thompson, Health Ministries Director of the Cayman Islands Conference, and Sis. GayMarie Smith, Health Ministries Director of the Filadelphia Church in the Cayman Islands. Also accompanying Dr. Idamae Hanna from Nassau was Dr. Tony Frankson who is a member of the Adventist Health Professionals Association (AHPA).

Health Expo 2014

Prospering in Health as our Soul Prospers, Health Expo
Shirlene Henriques, ATCU

The Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists (ATCU) will host a union-wide health exposition from August 28-31, 2014 at the Blue Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. The theme for the occasion is Prospering in Health as our Souls Propsers. Mrs. Belkis Archbold, health ministries director, for the Inter-American Division (IAD) will be the main presenter. Other presenters include
Dr. Idamae Hanna, of the South Bahamas Conference (SBC), Marie Smith of the Cayman Islands Conference (CIC), and Nora Tyndall, of the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission TCIM).

For more information and registration please contact your local conference/mission office or your health ministry director