St. Maarten’s Prime Minister officially opens SDA “Festival of the Laity Dr. Tobias calls Christian laity to fulfill gospel commissionPOSTED: 07/6/12 12:02 PM
St. Maarten – Seventh-day Adventists from around the Caribbean gathered at Sonesta Maho Resort Thursday evening for the opening ceremony of is Festival of the Laity. Governor Eugene Holiday, Prime Minister, Sarah Wescot-Williams, members of Parliament, and various local clergy were also present.
Organized by the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church (NCC) the “Festival of the Laity” is a personal ministry event designed to support non-clergy members in their mission work. Held for the second time on St. Maarten delegates have traveled from Anguilla, St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, Tortola, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and America
Under the theme “Fulfilling the gospel commission in my community” President of the Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventist Dr. Kern Tobias gave the keynote address.
“The time has come for the Church to ask and answer the hard question about how we are relating those guiding principals of this gospel commission (Matthew 28:19) and how it can be actualized in the lives of the led and the leaders. The first and continuing priority of the Church must be in this directive form the Lord; go teach, baptize, and make disciples,” Tobias said.
Taking from the book The Big Four: Secrets to a Thriving Church Family by S. Joseph Kidder, Tobias concluded, “The challenge of the church is that we must move from programs to people…Let us be more concerned about engaging people, making friends in our community, recognizing that our family members who don’t know Christ are our most significant target groups. We should move from just doing church to spiritual discipleship.”
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams officially opened the conference. In her address to delegates and attendees she said “… the laity of so many congregations are gathered here on St. Maarten to fulfill that [gospel] commission…You need to be supported at this time as the church…are facing tremendous challenges. You as the foundation of those churches need to be strong, committed, supported and focused, because what you are doing is right. The support that you are giving to the church is necessary for us to continue to make a difference in the world today. When you leave this place and this island you will be convinced that what you are doing – if not recognized today the reward will be yours tomorrow.”
Specially invited were evangelist Mark Finley and his team, Dr. Derek Morris and his wife, Dr. Balvin Braham, and Pastor Samuel Telemaque. Representing 3ABN (Three Angels Broadcasting Network) are Dr. Eugene Daniel, Dr. Kern Tobias, Pastor Danfort Francis and other distinguished leaders of the SDA Church.
Delegates were welcomed by a colorful and enthusiastic display of culture by pupils of the Cole Bay Seventh-day Adventist School. The conference continues until Saturday, July 7 with sessions starting at 10:00 a.m. All sessions are open to the public and are free. For updates and detailed information visit www.facebook.com/festivalofthelaity.stmaarten. The conference is broadcasted live at www.churchpond.com/index.php/vod/vod_philipsburg. Past days are also posted on that website.