Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist laypersons and leaders across the English Caribbean and throughout the church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) gathered for the very first Festival of Cross-Cultural Missions to better understand how to reach the growing multi-cultural groups spread throughout the vast territory. The historic event brought more than 600 church planters, pastors and volunteer lay people to take in the historic opening ceremony in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
“We want to challenge you not to focus on traditional evangelism only, but appreciate the diversity of our cultures and share Jesus to them,” said Pastor Samuel Telemaque, director for the Office of Adventist Mission for the church in Inter-America and main organizer of the event.
Pastor Samuel Telemaque (center), director of Adventist Mission for Inter-America opens the festival session Aug. 8, 2018. Photo by Curtis Henry/IAD
Themed “Celebrating the Past, Reaching All People for Christ,” the four-day conference is aimed at exposing leaders to the transforming power of lay involvement in evangelism, inspiring missionary enthusiasts to continue sharing Christ by developing meaningful interaction and respect for people of all socio-economic backgrounds and religious persuasions, and teaching delegates how to effectively cross barriers and establish centres of love, according to Telemaque.
The conference was meant to pair up with the Caribbean Union territory’s more than 500 lay preachers for a Festival of the Laity training as well.
“You are the greatest and most valuable asset the church has, to transform lives,” said Dr. Kern Tobias, president of the church in the Caribbean Union as he specifically addressed the lay delegates from the Caribbean region. “We appreciate you and thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.”
The Honorable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, member of Parliament and Minister of Community Development Culture and Arts in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, invited the delegates to explore the diversity around them and to allow “unconditional agape love” to thrive where they are.
Hundreds of delegates from across the Caribbean and Inter-America take in the sounds and sights during the opening ceremony at the University of Southern Caribbean. Photo by Curtis Henry/IAD
“For too long, we have allowed race, religion and cultures to inhibit our development. Discard labels and stigma that increase our sense of separation; never allow discrimination to override love for people,” said Gadsby-Dolly.
Pastor Telemaque believes that the seamless blending of these two unique activities has been positively affected by the diverse make-up of the Caribbean Union. Dr. Tobias affirmed: “The reality is that people from different cultures, ethnicities, and languages are now living in close proximity to each other.
In the Guyana Conference, the church is confronted with numerous people groups so the church must find a way to confront the enormous challenge to reach the different groups for Christ, said Tobias. “It is your attitude that will make the difference in reaching these people for Christ, so mingling with them can produce outstanding results.”
Photos: Curtis Henry/IAD
Article originally published by www.interamerica.org | August 9, 2018