125 years of Adventism in Jamaica: Looking forward
President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, Pastor Everett Brown, shares thoughts on the past, present and future of the Church.
Q: What has the Seventh-day Adventist Church been doing in Jamaica for the last 125 years?
A: We have been doing what we believe God has called us to do, which is primarily to make disciples by sharing the good news of salvation. We value education and so educating our members and the public in general has been a priority. We have been able to accomplish this through our educational institutions - the Northern Caribbean University, and our high and preparatory schools. Our emphasis has also been on health. We have been sharing with the community how to live healthier lifestyles through our health messages, health centres, Andrews Memorial Hospital, and other health-related programmes and initiatives. To God be the glory!
What is the Adventist Church's vision for Jamaica?
Our vision is to continue to educate and prepare people to be good citizens - to be respectful and law-abiding, and to use their resources to assist humanity. We also prepare people to live in that ideal environment that God has prepared. So our vision for Jamaica is that ultimately Jamaicans will accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Granted, I know we are not going to achieve that one hundred per cent, but if we did, the crime rate and other social problems would decrease significantly. I believe society would benefit holistically if people were to embrace Jesus Christ as the centre of their lives.
How can people support the work of the Church?
One way is by sharing their resources with the Church. For example, recently we engaged in a community project to revamp police stations islandwide. Not only were church members involved, but non-members as well. They contributed resources, labour and finances. Members and non-members can give of their time, skills, and financial resources to support us as we seek to fulfil the gospel commission.
Are you looking forward to another 125 years of Adventism in Jamaica?
The suffering that people are facing really bleeds my heart. There is joy in living and in using the life God has given to us to impact other lives. Serving people excites me and I would want to continue to do that. But I would not want to continue to live in an environment where there is so much suffering, inequality and pain. I want people to experience what God had intended for humanity. I dream of a day when there will be no pain, death or sorrow; and I want that day to come. So I'm not looking for another 125 years, honestly speaking. We are Seventh-day Adventists. We believe that the seventh-day sabbath, as outlined in the 10 Commandments, ought to be kept from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. We believe in the second Advent or second coming of Jesus, hence our name. We believe that Jesus Christ will come back to take us to live in an environment free of sin and suffering, and my personal belief is that it will happen before another 125 years.
As you wait for Jesus to return, what would you like to see the Church doing?
Christianity is more than theory. It ought to be practised. I believe that if Christians were living Christianity practically, more people would be attracted to Jesus. As we go forward, I would love to see the Church demonstrating more of the power of the gospel that we embrace in our daily lives.