Prime Minister of St. Vincent and The Grenadines praised the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the islands for the contribution to the development of the nation during the church’s inauguration ceremony of its new headquarter office in Kingstown, St. Vincent, on April 21, 2019.
The Honorable Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, particularly praised the dedicated work of the church in education and the nurture in spiritual and moral values.
“When the Seventh-day Adventist Church began in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), those early years saw an eruption of the Volcano on the island and a prejudice against the church,” said Gonsalves. “But the Adventist Church in SVG was forged in the fire.”
Prime Minister Gonsalves went on to say that the Adventist Church is the single largest denomination in the country.
He also expressed admiration for the work Adventist pastors carry out and thanked outstanding church members who serve in his government, including his Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker, Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan and the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Deborah Charles.
To accommodate the Adventists who work in the government, Gonsalves ends meetings early on Fridays before sunset and refrains from calling on his deputy prime minister during the hours of the Sabbath, he said. “We ensure we refrain from having national events on Saturdays because in doing so, 13 percent of the population would be excluded.”
There are more than 15,900 Seventh-day Adventist in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a string of neighboring islands. The church there is organized as a mission field which overseas 42 churches and congregations, a dental clinic and five primary and secondary schools.
The new facility was purchased from a commercial enterprise through a loan by the Caribbean Union and a sizable donation by a church member donor, local leaders said.
The two-floor renovated facility includes offices, a boardroom and a large auditorium with two balconies which can seat up to 450 persons, as well as a large basement.
Pastor James Daniel, vice president of the church in Inter-America, praised the work of leaders and members who have committed to growing the church since the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Mission offices was established in 2012. Previous to that year the islands were part of the church’s East Caribbean Conference territory. Adventism on the island entered in 1895 and the church was organized as part of the West Indies Mission in 1897 (Source: SDA Encyclopedia, Leeward and Windward Islands)
Pastor Daniel, who was at the Caribbean Union as coordinator of territorial adjustment and creating new fields years before, encouraged those gathered to remain thankful as he reflected on 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
“Your headquarters is located in a significant part of the city and provides for the visibility and image of the church so thank God for His purpose and His provision here,” said Daniel. “From the building will go out the directions for the church, its ministries to the community, for God has a committed people here.”
Pastor Dermoth Baptiste, president of the St. Vincent Mission, said the mission headquarters was functioning in the basement of the church-run Dental Clinic next door and now has more room to better the church organization on the islands it oversees. Baptiste, who visits Prime Minister Gonsalves once per quarter to pray for him and his government leaders, said the church will continue to reach out to the communities as a center of influence. Church leaders spoke about plans to renovate the basement to continue to expand its impact in the community there in Kingstown.
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Mission, its initiatives and activities, visit svgadventists.org
James Daniel contributed to this report.