It was a historic occasion for the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, who, for the first time, hosted its Church Clerks, Ushers’ Recognition, and Awards Banquet on Sunday, September 3, 2023. The grand affair ignited heartfelt praise and gratitude for the 120 awardees for a well-done job.
“This occasion that has brought us together underscores how much this Conference values and appreciates you (the Church Clerks and Ushers) and the work you do at the local church,” said Pastor Leonard Johnson, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Division in his main address to approximately 130 attendees at the event hosted at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica.
“By extension, I also want to add that from where I sit, I greatly value your contribution,” affirmed Pastor Johnson as he congratulated the EJC for 100% submission of Church Clerk Reports and, by extension, the Jamaica Union Conference with 99% reporting. “You need to recognize that If you do not function, there will be no report from the local field, and if the local field does not have a report, then the Union does not have a report. If the Union does not have a report, I do not have a report. The role you play is vital and critical.”
Dr. Johnson further addressed the audience about the life of Daniel in Scripture and encouraged the awardees under the caption, “No Loss,” to exemplify Daniel’s excellent spirit of discipline, integrity, prayer and worship, which made him a valuable worker to the honour and glory of God.
The awardees, inclusive of three lone men, from various churches across the Conference, received amidst rousing applause sectional awards in the following categories: eighty-three Certificates of Appreciation to Head Church Clerks; three persons copped the Executive Awards; eight persons received Special Awards for outstanding work in the Adventist Church Management Systems (ACMS); eight clerks copped the Reporting Awards; twenty clerks received the Membership Audit Awards; twenty-five clerks and ushers received the Long Service Awards; two received the Most Outstanding Clerk Awards; four individuals accepted the Top Zone Awards; four individuals received the Top Zone Runners Up Awards, and thirty individuals copped the Ushers/Hospitality Awards.
“On behalf of JAMU, Pastor Meric Walker, allow me to commend the Executive Secretary of the EJC. Pastor Francis is doing something that I have never seen being done in Jamaica Union Conference,” said Pastor Levi Johnson, Executive Secretary of the Jamaica Union Conference. “I am sure that we can testify to this fact. The Secretariat in the JAMU is moving in the right direction.”
Also offering his commendations, Pastor Meric Walker, President of East Jamaica Conference, said, “There will be rejoicing in heaven over your great work. Pivotal to our strategic priorities is care. Church Clerks and Ushers epitomize the essence of care. We want you to know that. We are having more than just an occasion here. We are passionate about inviting you here, calling your names and awarding you these insignia. So we praise the Lord for you and are here to celebrate."
The regal occasion, bedecked in royal blue and gold, saw Pastor Melvin Francis, the Executive Secretary of East Jamaica Conference, rise to the occasion, welcoming all and offering his gratitude for the Church Clerks and Ushers for their invaluable service to the work and mission of the Church.
“Today’s affirmation and recognition are occasioned by your unmatched commitment to duty. What would a board meeting be without a church clerk without you? How could our conference do so well in its quarterly statistical report to the wider organization? What would our Sabbath mornings feel like without a hospitable greeter at the door or the entrance of the Church with a smile to brighten the Sabbath day's worship? As such, we can say without any contradiction this afternoon that you have contributed, in some instances, more than enough,” said Pastor Francis.
The Washington Gardens SDA Church had the two longest-serving ushers. They are Arlene Haughton, 53 years of service, followed by Naomi Brown, 52 years. From Hagley Park SDA Church, Hyacinth Dale was the third longest-serving usher with 41 years. Though absent, Haughton said, “It is a joy, a pleasure to do God’s work, and I will never stop until God wants me to. Thank you for the recognition. I love my Church and my God.”
“I am elated and feel valued for the recognition and award I have received this evening,” said Claudia Stewart, the Church Clerk from the Meadowvale SDA Church, who copped the Executive Award and Most Outstanding Church Clerk Award. “I have been a Clerk for ten years, and I want to thank the East Jamaica Conference Administration for inspiring me to continue to give my best to the Master.”
Linette Smith, from the Content Gap SDA Church, copped the plaque award for the longest-serving Church Clerk with 35 years, “I thank God for using me to do His work in this part of the vineyard. I am grateful and humbled for the recognition. Smith was followed by Arnold Road SDA Church, Vivette Grant, with 30 years and Johnson Town SDA Church Arlene Dillion, with 28 years of service.
Also attending the three-and-a-half-hour recognition service were Pastor Howard Langley, the Executive Secretary from Central Jamaica Conference, Pastor Carl Cunningham, Vice President for East Jamaica Conference, directors, pastors, workers and elders.
Masters of Ceremonies, Pastor Ryandro Brown and Danielle Hines ably guided the eventful affair, within an atmosphere ideally backed with a live saxophone and recorded instrumentals.