REPORT FROM 2019 LEEWARD ISLANDS DISTRICT COUNCIL
- The Connexional Representative was Connexional Bishop The Reverend Everald Galbraith who presided over the Ordination of 4 Presbyters:
- Rev’d Andrine Jennifer Joseph who had served previously as a deacon
- Rev’d Ruth Pratt (a Bahamian) itinerant Presbyter stationed in the St. Maarten Circuit, and
- Rev’ds Doris A. Lynch-Gibbs and M. Liana Richardson- Woods, Local Presbyters from the St. Maarten Circuit.
- Caren Richards-St. Rose, a Local Presbyter from the Dominica Circuit was transferred by a resolution of the District General Purposes Committee. She now serves the Antigua Circuit. Her husband is an Anglican Minister who has been stationed in Antigua over a year ago.
- The Connexional Faith and Order Committee has sent a number of position papers: These include:
- A final statement answering certain questions concerning episcopacy (the practice of appointing bishops) in the MCCA.
- Statements on (1) Baptism (2) Forgiveness and (3) Common-Law Unions. These papers are available to all members and your reflections on/ responses to these are invited.
- The Pastoral Letter to the Congregations which was read on 27th January is posted on the website and gives some idea of the atmosphere at District Council.
- The District Pastoral Committee and the District Pastoral Performance Review Commission have been appointed. All completed Pastoral Performance Review instruments for the 2017-18 Connexional Year should be submitted to the District Commission by 31st March 2019 at the latest.
- Superannuation: the Rev’ds Alberic and Joyce Rohan who are currently serving in the BVI Circuit, have both applied to superannuate, the husband after 45 years and the wife after 43 years of service
- Stations: Apart from the superannuation refereed to, there was only one change in ministers’ stations. Rev’d A. Carlwyn Greenaway will succeed Rev’d Nichola Barrett-Glasgow who leaves Aruba to return to her home District Jamaica at 1st September, 2019. A minister from Haiti is expected to replace Rev’d. J. J. Ralph Denizard who will leave the Guadeloupe Mission to return to Haiti.
- Dispensation to Administer the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper: Conference agreed to the Circuit’s application for a dispensation to be granted to Br. Alfred Glasgow to administer the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
- Resources and Development: In view of the significant financial hardships experienced by circuits in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the District Budget for the triennium was revised. It is not possible to exempt the Holland Circuit from paying an assessment. Even the Guadeloupe Mission has started to make a contribution. The assessment for Holland is USD 4,400.00 per year. This is the smallest assessment , the next highest being Montserrat with an assessment of USD 7,750.00
Hurricane damages and claims: Category 5 Hurricane Irma of 6th and 7th September, 2016 devastated St. Maarten, St. Martin, Anguilla, BVI and St. Thomas/St. John. The total claim submitted by these islands before any adjusting is US$5,695.071.89. The total losses exceeded the insured amount of US$2M and therefore payment was made to the Corporation of US$2M.
After adjusting the claims, the total agreed claims amounted to US$ 4,045,612.46. The Corporation agreed at its meeting in Antigua in January 2018 that an additional amount of US$1m would be taken from the reserves of the Corporation to assist with the claims for Hurricane Irma. A total of US$3 m was paid to the affected Circuits. The final pay-outs to Circuits were made in June 2018.
Hurricane Maria another Category five (5) storm followed. The circuits affected were Montserrat, St. Croix and Dominica. Total unadjusted claims submitted to date is US$ 2,035,595.55.
The total adjusted claims totaled US$ 1,194,288.22 and amount of US$1,119,288.22 was paid out after the deduction of US$75,000.00. This was paid to the affected Circuits by October 2018.
The audit report for the Holland Circuit for 2016-17 was completed by Sis Emmilein Rombley & Bro. Ivan Glasgow. Bro Ivan Glasgow completed the report for 2017-18.
- Mission, Evangelism & Church Growth
Circuits are invited to embrace a model of invitation to increase the membership of the church by 60% over a five- year period (12% each year)- utilizing **OPERATION ANDREW based on St. John 1:40-41 … which seeks a commitment of each member to reach one person during the Year through Intentional witness.
This is a commitment to witnessing to, praying for, sharing one’s faith with, encouraging and leading (name of individual) to Christ. It seeks to address the Great Commission and our commitment to Church growth – while seeking to REVERSE the decline in membership. If only 10% successful, it would be more than we had before; BUT a 20-25% success rate is not impossible.
Reaching out beyond the membership of the Methodist Church is important, therefore, our focus must not be limited to delinquent members, though that is important. Positive growth will come from outside the regular membership of the Church.
Each Congregation should, therefore, schedule an Andrew Lord’s Day once per quarter – where all Andrews (members) invite their Peters (person praying for) to worship – Bible Study – Class Meeting – etc. (Even though we are encouraging them to join us in worship regularly – on this occasion we are emphasizing the work of Andrew). It is hoped that once the Peters (invitees) become regular attendees they too will have the desire to bring others along. (N.B. We must be extremely careful – with our attitudes as Methodists – that while inviting others it isn’t only to worship BUT to become a part of the Church family to share in the ministry of the Church. Let us not act as if they have come to ‘take over’ the Church.
This requires ongoing updates, reminders, follow-ups, etc. to sensitize of Operation Andrew; Prayer Meetings where we come in agreement with each other as Andrew’s, and seeking God’s help in reaching out and getting through to the Peter’s.
Council has requested that Methodist Position Papers (referred to above) be presented / distributed (in pamphlet form) to all Methodists and that discussions are held on same.
Since the Church is a part of the family of God, and since the Church is a family comprised of families, Council decided on the following:
- A Data Base be Developed in Circuits to identify:
– Different types of families in the respective congregation: single- parent, nuclear, extended etc.
– Factors/issues affecting and or impacting families- separation, migration; parent- children conflicts.
– Important milestones: marriages, wedding anniversaries, etc.
- We emphasize Parental Responsibility/Children’s Obedience to parents as divinely instituted.
- The Sanctity of Marriage as a divine Institution be promoted.
It is hoped that over the next five years we develop our data base to inform us where we are and to better prepare us to carry out ministry effectively.
Further, within the next year, give feedback on the establishment and operation of the Data Base; and in subsequent years on the development and expansion of the same.
Long Service Certificate Application: Council has requested from the Connexional Conference the long service award for 40 years service as an Accredited Preacher for – Bro. Alfred Glasgow
New Syllabi for MCCA Preachers
A new syllabus is available for each of the following 5 examinations which preachers are required to sit from the 2019 -20 Connexional Year. The subjects are: Old Testament, New Testament, Christian Doctrine, Worship & Preaching and Methodist History.
Period of Prayer & Fasting to Start New Connexional Year
It was decided to have a time of **PRAYER & FASTING: to begin the Church Year (Daniel Fast – based on Daniel chapters 1 & 10)
Sunday 1st September – 5pm with supper and Breaking the Fast on Sunday 8thSeptember with Lunch at 2:00pm.
Suggested menu will be provided – to include fruits, vegetables, nuts, juice, water, tea (bush preferable)
A daily scripture reading will be given for devotional / meditation – and focused prayer concerns (specific areas / along with those presented by Circuits)
Zoning of the District was agreed to as a means of streamlining and making more efficient use of resources. However more consideration is being given re groupings giving consideration to ease of travel, language, time zones, etc.
Zone 1 – USVI / BVI
Zone 2 – St. Maarten, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Eustatius, Guadeloupe
Zone 3 – Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis
Zone 4 – Curaçao, Aruba, Netherlands
- Christian Education
Youth Encuentro 2019
The 6th MCCA Youth Encuentro is scheduled to be held in Belize City, Belize/Honduras District from July 22-28, 2019. The theme for this gathering is “Methodission: Forever Fired Up for Christ!”.The Holland Circuit will not be represented.
Formation of District Youth and Young Adult Commission: This will happen at the Encuentro. Since Holland will not be present, it makes sense to name a member for this Commission in advance of the Youth Encuentro.
Upcoming Dates for Women’s Ministry.
July 9 – 13:
Women Executive Meeting in St. Maarten
MCCA Women Quinquennial Seminar to be held
In July 2020 in Trinidad
North America area Meeting (TBA)
World Federation of Methodist & Uniting Church
Women to be held in Sweden
12.The next meeting of the District Council is scheduled for January 10 – 17, 2020 in the Curacao Circuit. The District Ministerial Council will start on Friday 10th January and The District Council will commence on Sunday 12th January with the Welcome Service.