Authored by: Mr. Hayden McKenna, University Writer/Editor
On March 05, 2022 the University of the Southern Caribbean officially launched its participation in the celebration of the centennial year of the Inter-American Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (IAD). The launch took the form of a Sabbath Service at the Caring University Church. Titled “Celebrating Our Heritage” the narrative of the worship service succeeded in connecting the celebration of the IAD’s centennial with USC’s almost ninety-five-year-old institutional existence as a beneficiary of and a benefactor to the organized work of the church in the circum-Caribbean and beyond.
In the pulpit, Dr. Kern Tobias, President of the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist (CARU) and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the USC, drew upon the Aristotelian heuristic of the rhetorical triangle – logos, ethos and pathos – to affirm the positive, albeit sometimes imperfect achievements of USC and by extension the IAD. Dr. Tobias enjoined, that our celebrations must never become blind to the centrality of Christ – the Living Word and the Bible His written word as the veritable core of our heritage.
The Inter American Division is one of the thirteen divisions of the world Adventist Church and one of three in the Western Hemisphere. Headquartered in Miami Florida, USA, the IAD’s geographical territory comprises of Mexico in North America, all of the countries of Central America, the islands of the Caribbean and the five northern-most countries of South America.The IAD is subdivided into twenty-four unions which in turn are comprised of conferences, missions, regions and churches in an elegant system of devolution.
The need to organize the work of the church in the circum-Caribbean during the late 19th century into the first two decades of the 20th, saw many structural experiments being tried in this vast, culturally diverse, in some places geographically dis-contiguous part of the Americas. A pattern of adventures, misadventures and re-adventures especially after 1906, saw territorial integrations and disintegrations on the redoubtably complicated grounds of cultural and linguistic diversity, the personal preferences of leaders, national and colonial borders, underdeveloped systems of communication and transportation and the wartime challenges between 1914 and 1918. In spite of it all, God’s work grew and the thoughtful creation of solid, lasting organizational arrangements was obliged by this growth. In May of 1922, the Inter American Division was established in response to the need for better organization of the work.
This year, the IAD celebrates its centennial year under the theme Celebrating His Providence and Affirming our Values. Churches like the Caring University Church, conferences and missions like the six conferences and four missions of the Caribbean Union Conference (CARU), unions like the CARU and institutions such as the University of the Southern Caribbean join in the year-long celebration of this important milestone of our church in this part of the world.
Our university – one of the fourteen universities in the IAD – has had a rich exchange of mutual benefit with our division. Over the ninety-four year of our existence, we have and continue to receive resource endowments and institutional support from the IAD. In return, among the finest human talent that has propelled the success of the church in this division, are proud alumni of our university. USC and the IAD have even at separate times shared two presidents, in the distinguished persons of Bender L. Archbold and George W. Brown. Our missions, successes and destinies are unimpeachably co-mingled.
The fundamental business of our university is education. As such, our contribution to the observance of the IAD centennial year will focus on the production and sharing of educational content that will examine our church, its mission and its work in the circum-Caribbean and the impact of our division and its people on the world church and the world beyond the church. A calendar of our major IAD centennial events will be shared in the coming weeks. Prepare yourself to participate and be edified. May God continue to bless His church in the Inter-American Division and in the world.