Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
On behalf of all fifteen (15) Circuits and one (1) Mission, encompassing the English, French, Dutch, Papiamento, and Kweyol speaking regions of our Leeward Islands District Conference, we greet you with great joy. Truly an historic event, it marks our First Virtual Conference precipitated by the onslaught of COVID-19, a global pandemic. We assembled in the 215th Annual Meeting, and 3rd Triennial Conference of the Leeward Islands District Conference under the leadership of our District President, Bishop The Rev’d Charles A. Seaton, and ably assisted by our District Secretary, Rev’d. Dr. Joan Delsol Meade.
The Conference welcomed clergy and delegates, and in particular, Rev’d. Dr. Cuthbert Edwards, to the District.
We are most grateful to God, ‘our help in ages past’ and most assuredly a very ‘present help’, who is indeed the hope of our future.
Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who have made it possible for us to connect virtually. We commend our technical team across the District for a job well done!
The Conference was also privileged to welcome among us our Connexional Vice President, Mrs. Yonette Greaves, of the Guyana District. Mrs. Greaves, extended greetings on behalf of the Connexional Officers during the Virtual Welcome Service, and at the beginning of the Representative Session. She prayed that God would have been with us in our deliberations and that we would have experienced a rewarding and fulfilling Conference.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DISTRICT CONFERENCE 2021
Our District Conference, which met 13th – 15th January 2021, was preceded by the Ministerial Session that convened on 12th January 2021. Our deliberations were guided by the Conference Theme: “Trusting God Through Difficult Times: Transforming Obstacles into Opportunities”. A constant reminder of new beginnings, limitless opportunities, a blessed hope, and God’s ability to deliver!
Virtual Welcome Service
The District Conference Welcome Service, hosted by the Anguilla Circuit, involved members from throughout the District who participated from their home Circuits. The Service was broadcast live via Facebook and YouTube from the Ebenezer Methodist Chapel in The Valley on 11th January 2021. This brought together, not only the Conference delegates, but the general membership of the Leeward Islands District, the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas, the wider Methodist Communion and other persons tuned in from around the world. Bishop Charles Seaton, armed with the theme “Victory in the Midst of Disaster”, preached the sermon, based on 2 Chronicles 20:15. He encouraged and challenged us with the following statements:
We need to turn again to the Lord, with God having first place in our lives, not as a second option.
We need to see opportunities not just obstacles.
We need to recognize how essential it is for us to move forward not just to stand still!
Unified Strategic Direction
The Connexional Conference shared a UNIFIED STRATEGIC DIRECTION for the District and wider MCCA. This was highly appreciated. A culmination of a year of work by the Steering Committee, the proposed strategy considered the input of all Districts and represents a bright hope on the way forward for our church. With the anticipated approval by Connexional Conference in May 2021, we hope and pray that all our circuits will embrace the unified direction in which we intend to take the church, with God being our helper.
Virtual Communion Service
The District Conference climaxed on 15th January 2021, with the Conference Virtual Communion Service live from Wesley Methodist Church, Anna’s Retreat, St Thomas, USVI. The preacher at this Service was Rev’d Joyce F. Rohan, Supernumerary, St. Martin Circuit, who challenged her hearers to trust God.
The Ordination Service for Local Presbyters, Rev’d. Caren Richards-St Rose, and Rev’d. Wilmoth O. Hodge was not held due to COVID-19 restrictions. As soon as it is possible for all concerned, the Ordination Service will take place.
Bishop The Rev’d Charles A. Seaton and Rev’d. Dr. Joan Delsol Meade were re-elected to serve another term as District President and Secretary, respectively.
We also placed on record our profound gratitude to Rev’d Bonny C. Byron on her application to superannuate from active ministry. We congratulate Rev’d Byron would have, at the end of the current year, completed some thirty-one years of ministry.
The Conference was pleased to welcome Rev’d Veronica Williams-Gumbs, who superannuated into the District as of September 2020 after serving some seven (7) years in the South Caribbean District Conference.
This year, the Conference was pleased to recommend Itinerant Presbyter, Rev’d. Wendell Samuel for reception into Full Connexion. We wish him well as he prepares for Ordination.
STATE OF THE WORK
Here we present some of the plans coming from the various departments.
Mission and Evangelism
Given our successful hosting of the District Conference online, the Department plans to establish a Training institute. This will offer Virtual Seminars for our Preachers, and there is a lot more to come.
Resources and Development
While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected finances in a negative way, the Department encourages initiatives towards making the District financially sustainable. A new District Treasurer was appointed in the person of Miss Sheleen Matthew of St. Kitts.
Mrs. Elvarie Carty-Vanterpool of the Anguilla Circuit is the new Administrator for the Wesleyan Corporation, and Mrs Barbara Pompier-Halley was appointed Insurance Advisor to the Corporation.
Ms Merline M. Barrett of the Anguilla Circuit and Mr Hollis Francis, Jrof the Antigua Circuit were appointed legal advisors to the District
The Conference expressed sincere thanks to Mrs. Marva Audain-Thompson, the outgoing Administrator for the Wesleyan Corporation and Ms. Adosha Francis, outgoing District Treasurer for their Services. We also wish them well in their future endeavours.
The Committee has set the following as its three primary goals for the triennium:
A Sunday School Curriculum Project to be completed by 2024.
Effective launch and use of Website. This project is an effort of the District Young Adults Commission.
Training of Class Leaders and the development of creative methodologies for Class Meetings.
Exciting things are underway. The Department is exploring the use of the online
platform ZOOM which was used for District Conference to be used for promoting
fellowship among Methodist teachers across the district. It also plans to use this
medium for the professional development of teachers as schools share their best
As a District Conference, we encourage all congregations to not give up, to not feel
overpowered but continue to trust in God’s possibilities. Let us resolve to utilize the
available technologies which allow us to make our witness more effective in our context
and today’s world.
We praise God for all that we have experienced! As we continue moving forward in
fulfilling our mandate to ‘’‘-re-form the nations through the spreading of scriptural
holiness throughout the land-,’’’ we faithfully “trust God for all that is to come!”
In Christ Service,
Bishop Charles A Seaton
Rev Dr Joan Delsol Meade