DISTRICT COUNCIL 2023
PASTORAL LETTER TO THE CONGREGATIONS
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We greet you in the name of our Risen Lord, Jesus the Christ.
The 8th District Council, the 217th Annual Meeting of the Leeward Islands District, convened virtually with the intent to offer hope and encouragement under the theme, “Trusting God in Difficult Times: Transforming Obstacles into Opportunities.”
In the Post-COVID era we are cognizant that it is not so much that COVID-19 is gone but that we must learn to live with its constant presence. We must not let our fears restrain us from fulfilling our mission and ministry, but rather, move forward, letting our faith constrain us (urge us on) despite the challenges.
The District recorded its sincerest appreciation to the technical team, comprised of Young Adults including young clergy, who made it possible for us to connect virtually despite connectivity challenges.
The Council welcomed our Connexional Treasurer, Sis. Muriel Peggy Smith, who extended greetings on behalf of the Connexional Officers. Sis. Smith shared with us concerns about the financial situation.
The Connexion is struggling financially, thus the need for all districts to support. Sister Smith made the appeal for continued support. She applauded our District for our generous giving but noted that there are some districts that are not honoring their obligations. Consequently, the Connexion has embarked on fundraising efforts to assist with operational expenses.
Some of the highlights were:
- Virtual Welcome Service
The Welcome Service was hosted by the Holland Circuit and streamed on YouTube on Sunday, January 8. It was truly reflective of our church as it was intergenerational, reflected traditional and contemporary worship forms, embraced various music genres as well as the languages of the District.
The District President, Bishop the Reverend Charles A. Seaton, brought the Word based on John 4:21-26. The message challenged us to consider our spiritual health in the face of the many global and societal realities which have had a negative impact on the Church. Bishop Seaton concurred that believers in today’s world cannot be operating as what John Wesley referred to as “Almost Christians” but must be fully committed to the cause of Christ. He challenged us to become “Genuine Christians” affirming that our faith will be evident in the quality of our moral life as well as in our involvement in mission and ministry, resulting in a stronger church.
- Reception into Full Connexion
The District has advanced, on behalf of the Connexional Conference, the Reverend Jean Ronald Charles for reception into full Connexion and ordination.
- Candidates For the Ministry
It is of grave concern that this year we had no persons offering for the full-time ministry of our church. We pray that those who sense a call to serve may respond, confident in knowing that the God who calls is faithful.
- MCCA Unified Strategic Direction
The District received Year 1 and 2 projections of the Unified Strategic Direction. We encourage Circuits to adopt the mission and vision statements as we seek to own this Direction. Circuits are encouraged to be more intentional in facilitating processes whereby all members can now be engaged in the implementation. Additional assistance is being offered to Circuits so desiring.
STATE OF THE WORK
Mission and Evangelism
- Home and family are the central focus. We are committed to strengthening the family and encouraging the continued use of the Family Altar. Special child friendly materials are being sourced to ensure that the children can meaningfully share in family devotions
- Marital Seminars and Singles Workshops are being planned to strengthen family life.
- As we continue our spiritual journey, District wide Prayer and Fasting is encouraged (3-10 September 2023 and 1-8 September 2024).
- Daily devotionals via WhatsApp have been successful. All Circuits are participating. The global reach is commendable.
- To capitalize on administrative costs, membership cards will be extended for the triennium through August 2027.
RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Superannuation Fund
Superannuation payments for all ministers in District are up to date.
From the District Resources and Development CAP the following are noted:
- Circuits Assessments remain lower than pre-covid levels.
- Several Circuits are still indebted to the District and re-payment agreements have been initiated.
- Discussions with BDO, an international auditing firm, have begun toward procuring external auditing services.
The Christian EducationCommittee commends to Circuits the following:
- A Sunday School Curriculum Project is due to be completed by 2024. All Church Schools are encouraged, in the interim, to use the website https://freesundayschoolcurriculum.weebly.com/
- The District Website spearheaded by the District Young Adults Commission has been launched and can be accessed via the link: www.lidmethodist.org
- Training of Class Leaders and the development of creative methodologies for Class Meetings.
- The District continues to play a vital role in education, shaping and nurturing young minds in their development.
- The academic school year was still a challenge due to the continued presence of COVID-19. We acknowledged, however, that it could not have been successful without the commitment and dedication of our teachers. We give God thanks and praise for the boards of management, school administrative staffs, parents, students, ministries of education and other partners for embracing the schools, ensuring a successful academic year.
- Congregations are encouraged to welcome and embrace the School Communities when they join us for Worship and special Services.
As a District Council, we commend to you our ever-faithful God and we encourage all congregations to not give up, and to not feel overpowered by the seemingly insurmountable challenges. We encourage all to stand firm, continue to be unwavering in faith, relying on God’s steadfast love and to see God at work in the situations we are facing.
Therefore, beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15: 58).
Your Servants in Christ,
Bishop, the Rev. Charles A. Seaton Rev. Dr. Joan Delsol-Meade President Secretary