Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands…[Nigel Coke/IAD]
Hundreds of enthusiastic members, friends and well-wishers turned out at the Williams Auditorium and the Graceway Sports Centre in Providenciales, on Friday evening and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2, 2006, to celebrate 100 years of Adventism in the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission. The theme for the weekend was “Celebrating His Goodness”.
In welcoming those in attendance on Friday evening, a very joyful President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission, Pastor Peter Kerr, saluted the faithful warriors of the cross who have the way for the phenomenal growth the church is experiencing today. He expressed appreciation to all the missionaries and the administration of West Indies Union Conference past, and present, for the unfailing support of the work in the Mission. He also thanked all the faithful members for allowing the Lord to use them so mightily for the advancement of the work.
“We welcome you to this significant milestone; welcome to the joys of God’s saving act among His people and to a grand and glorious future, and the amazing possibilities and opportunities before us”, he exclaimed.
“Through the many challenges, discouragement and frustration at times, God has been good and faithful. Just look at us now. From a humble beginning of a handful of believers in 1906, to almost 1,500 members who are now worshiping in seven organized churches and two companies on five different Islands. It has been an amazing journey of hope for the pioneers of our faith and for all of us who have come after,” he added.
The evening was flavored with a heart warming praise and worship by the congregation and then with inspirational singing from the Centennial mass choir. Pastor Leon B. Wellington, vice president and communication director for the church in Inter-America brought greetings on behalf of the Division, while Pastor Derek Bignall, executive secretary, brought greetings on behalf of the Union.
The main speakers for the weekend were the President of West Indies Union Conference, Pastor Patrick Allen, who spoke at the Recognition and Awards service and Dr. Alanzo Smith, director of Family Ministries and Communication at the Greater New York Conference, who delivered the main address at the Divine Hour.
Saturday morning’s program centered around spirit-filled presentations of music and testimonies. The singing was done in English, French and Spanish as the Mission is blessed with a French Church as well as a Spanish company that have members from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Mexico. The testimonies were in the order of reflections which were presented by those who had served the Mission in its early beginning.
In delivering the Sabbath morning worship service, using the topic “Walking Through the Covenant” Pastor Alanzo Smith called on the congregation to “trust in the Lord with all their heart and to lean not on their own understanding.” In reference to Genesis 15:1-7 and Genesis 2:12, where Abraham walked by faith and was richly rewarded, he challenged all to “hold fast till God comes”.
“Has God been good to you?” he asked rhetorically. “Yes, to God be the glory great things He has done. You have done well through many trials, pains and heartache. You are celebrating 100 years. You have done a great job, but don’t become complacent with God’s blessings because yonder lies heaven.”
Later in the afternoon 72 persons were honored for their faithful and dedicated commitment to the growth and development of the Mission.
His Excellency Richard Tauwhare, Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands headed the list of a number of government officials who were in attendance. In bringing greetings he echoed complimentary sentiments of the great contribution the Church has made to the development of the Islands.
He said that not only was the church involved in and concerned with the spirituality of individuals, but also the mental and the physical. He commended the educational system of the church and made reference to the good relationship which is shared with the government of the islands and the church.
After the historic first regular business session on Sunday Dec. 3, the youth of the church took to the street with a youth rally which, culminated at the Williams Auditorium; then the curtains were brought down on a very well-planned and spirit-filled weekend of celebrations.
The work in the Turks and Caicos Islands began in 1906 and in 1945 along with the Island of Inagua was organized as the Salt Cays Mission. It was later downgraded from mission status and sometimes supervised by the East Jamaica Conference and the Bahamas Mission until in 1965 when the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission was reorganized with Pastor V. O Brown as its first president. The mission then consisted of one church in Grand Turk, one in Kew, North Caicos and one in Blue Hills, Providenciales, with a total membership of 47.
In1945 Clyde Nebblett and his wife conducted a crusade at Blue Hills, baptized 26 precious souls and raised-up the Blue Hills Church.
In a year when the Mission is celebrating 100 years, Pastor Kerr is completing 16 years as president. There are presently over 1,500 members in seven churches and two companies, one high school, one primary school and a camp site. The Mission is now staffed with the departmental directors elected, along with 3 pastors, 26 teachers, one full-time and one part-time colporteur and one person in charge of information technology.