Church holds first territory-wide youth congress in the English Caribbean in 42 years
August 26, 2015 • • in News
Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist youth in the Caribbean Union region packed their bags and traveled to Castries, in the island of St. Lucia to participate in a historic territory-wide youth congress from Jul. 29 to Aug. 1, 2015.
Nearly 1,000 young people were challenged to continue being a powerful generation in serving the church and their communities everywhere they go. It was the first such island-wide event held since 1973, organizers said.
Young people engaged in a week of service by impacting several communities on the island one week before the youth gathered for the spiritual event. They renovated three homes in extremely poor communities, repaired courts for sports activities, repainted school buildings, cleaned streets and parks and distributed food in communities and nursing homes.
With the theme “Spread the Light, Share the Joy,” the event was designed to inspire young people to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with Christ, and sharing it with others.
Pastor Anthony Hall, youth ministries director for the church in the Caribbean Union and organizer of the event, said the community service projects in St. Lucia were a great opportunity for young people to embrace the church and its mission, embrace each other and cling to Jesus’ embrace.
President of the Caribbean Union Dr. Kern Tobias thanked youth leaders and young people for making such a positive impact in St. Lucia. “God has given the youth a ladder to climb and that ladder reaches from earth to heaven…he is watching who are climbing, ready when the grasp relaxes and the steps falter to send help,” Tobias said.
During the second week of the congress, delegates gathered at Beausejour Stadium to be affirmed of their identity as sons and daughters of God and to continue praying, studying the Bible and witnessing every day.
Young people were trained in youth leadership, were trained on small group evangelism, social media evangelism, music evangelism, youth impact evangelism, and more.
“Continuing to guide and inspire a powerful generation of youth leaders is what the congress was all about,” said Pastor Hall. Hall has led the youth ministries department at the Caribbean Union for four years now and had been wanting to hold the youth congress for quite some time and was happy to see so many turn up.
The nearly 1,000 youth delegates at the event represented an estimated 40,000 young people across churches and congregations in the Caribbean Union, said Hall. Many skipped work and school to take part in the two-week congress event.
“The Congress gave us the opportunity to evaluate the emphasis and initiatives in place to promote to our young people as well as continue teaching and guiding them to continue embracing the commitment to motivate other youth to experience salvation and service in their communities,” added Hall.
Pastor Jamal Franklyn, a youth guest speaker from The Bahamas, reminded young people on the great difference they can make as they cling to Jesus to be bold and courageous in making a difference in the world.
“You are extraordinary young people,” said Pastor Franklyn. “Let Christ embrace you. Surrender to God and do His will.” Franklyn challenged them to embrace their school, their country and the world and lead others to Christ as they go back home.
Pastor Hall hopes each delegate will have a better understanding, “that our church is a very diverse global church united in every local church; that they can choose to live a better life, experience mission and service, and find creative ways to share their faith.”
During the Congress, a report was given on the One Year in Mission evangelism. The Caribbean Union sent representatives to participate in this General Conference (GC) initiative, geared to help young people develop a love for the church and its mission.
The congress concluded with the Bible Boom Award. Adriana Langellier of St. Lucia who attends the Vieux Fort SDA church was the winner of this year’s Bible Boom Challenge. Particpants from across the 10 conferences and missions of the Caribbean Union Conference were questioned on the books of the last 6 Minor prophets. Ms. Langellier emerged victourous in the Union. This is the second year in a row that St. Lucia has won the regional challenge. Last year Shama Felix of Trois Piton SDA won the Union challenge.
There is no Divisional challenge as new officers were chosen at that level. Ms.Langellier won a Samsung Galazxy Tab 4. She encourages other young persons to make the study of the Bible their daily work.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Caribbean Union is headquartered in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and oversees seven conferences and missions in dozens of islands in the English Caribbean territory. There are more than 233,900 church members worshipping in 722 churches and congregations.
For more on the Caribbean Union’s Youth Congress, visit their Facebook page HERE