Community Services Federation members urged to be transformed as they render service to the Lord
Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director, Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Thursday, April 11, 2019
Just under one hundred community services members representing churches from all four zones in East Jamaica Conference (EJC) attended the Adventist Community Services Federation convocation held under the theme “Transformed for His Service,” during the period April 5 - 7, 2019 at the Conference’s Golden Acres property in Golden Spring, St. Andrew.
In his message to the Community Services leaders during the divine service on April 6, 019, Pastor Adrian Cotterell, Community Services Director, JAMU, told the story of a man who was willing to put his life on the line to go to a country to preach to cannibals in order to win them over for Christ. Years later thousands were converted to Christianity by the efforts of this one man whose transformed life in service to God bore fruits after he risked his life to save others.
“When we are transformed, God lives within our hearts and service becomes a joy,” declared Cotterell during his divine service message. “We don’t hold back, instead we give everything to the Lord,” he added.
Cotterell chided some Adventist members for their lack of love for people in the community and said this complaint should not be named among the people of God.
“People have complained that we are hard and difficult but those who are transformed must not be criticized that way,” Cotterell said. “We must be criticized as compassionate people,” he added.
The former EJC president spoke passionately about the effectiveness of a Christian who has been transformed by Christ and noted that there is a tendency by some Christians to look aside from people who they think are not good for the gospel.
“Those on the streets, those who do not look like us, those who we think are cast a ways, there is a tendency to look aside from these individuals who we consider as outcasts of society and we even sometimes refuse to share the love of Christ with them,” said the preacher of righteousness.
“But God expects for us to be his arms and embrace them, his heart to love them, his eyes to empathize with them , his mind to accept them and his disciples to call them to Jesus,” he exclaimed.
As part of the convocation, twenty five new members were inducted in the East Jamaica Conference Adventist Community Services Federation in a special induction ceremony on April 6, 2019 where Conference president, Pastor Eric Nathan made a special address to the community services members.
“We will not all be musicians, we will not all be singing evangelists but we will all experience TMI, total member involvement,” Nathan said as he capitalized on the moment to share the church’s vision of getting every member of the church involved in the mission of the church.
“Some will be evangelists, some will be preachers, some will be pastors, some will have the job of being teachers but one thing will be common among all the different categories of workers that are gifted by the
Holy Spirit and that is we will be willing to give our service to mission,” the president said.
The top pastor in the conference posited that there need not be any competition between the various categories of workers in the church as all are working for one purpose.
“So there ought not to be any competition between those who are in Sabbath School and those who are in community services and those who are in health or those who are in stewardship because all of these institutions work together for one mission and that is to let men and women know that the coming of Christ is very near.”
Community Services Federation President Lorna Fowler said the mandate of the Community Service Federation is to follow Jesus’ method of feeding the hungry and caring for the sick and clothing the naked all with the objective of leading people to Christ.
When asked what community services meant to them members responded differently but all expressed a deep desire to serve others and follow the example of Christ.
Art Dennis of the Sandy Park SDA Church said Community Services is an avenue to represent Christ as how he did while he was on earth. “It gives me an opportunity to interact with the community and people of different faith and to exemplify Christ in action and not just words,” Dennis said.
Celene Williams of the Peat Hill SDA Church, who has been working in the Community Services Department for over twenty years said working in this department has been the best thing that has ever happened in her life. “It is a joy and a pleasure to do good for others and to help
people who are in need,” she added.
Choir leader of the Community Services Federation, Norma Wittock who has been involved on Community Services for over ten years said she was very happy to be involved in community services work as it was the good works and kindness shown to a part of the said
The convocation facilitated the appreciation and encouragement of community services members by church leaders including Dr. Meric Walker who inspired the group on Friday evening and Pastor Linton Williams, EJC Executive Secretary who reminded them of the Biblical origins of the department through the life and work of Dorcas.
In the afternoon of April 6, 2019, Conference treasurer, Elder Donmayne Gyles, reviewed some of the financial challenges that face the Community Services department and encouraged the leaders of the importance of creating and following a budget in order to have adequate funds to execute the mission of the church.
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