New Headquarters for New Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission
Will Serve Adventists in Bahamas, Caymans, and Turks and Caicos Islands
BY NIGEL COKE, Inter-American Division, reporting from Nassau, Bahamas
The leadership of the newly organized Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission (ACUM) broke ground for the construction of their headquarters at Bethany Cove in Nassau, Bahamas. The ceremony took place Sunday, January 16, 2011.
According to Lionel Johnson, chief architect for the project, the three-story building will occupy approximately 5,500 square feet. It will be located opposite the Bethany Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nassau.
“It is a blend of traditional vernacular styles with an infusion of classical elements,” said Johnson. “It is designed to be both visible and recognizable as a symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Bahamas.”
The building, which is expected to cost approximately US$700,000, would have been far more costly were it not for the many members who have so far given their support with time, talent, and financial resources.
BREAKING GROUND: From left, The Hon. Hubert Minnis, minister of health for the Bahamas, and Inter-American Division executives Balvin Braham, Leon Wellington, Elie Henry, and Israel Leito participate in the groundbreaking exercise.
“It is amazing to see the number of members who have volunteered and have committed to give support to the construction of our headquarters,” said Leonard Johnson, ACUM president. “I express deep gratitude to those who came to assist us voluntarily even when we did not ask them to. This tells me that the true spirit of Christ is still at work in the hearts and minds of individuals who see the need to build up God’s kingdom.”
On hearing of the project, architect Johnson, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, was more than willing to give of his talent to support the cause.
Said Johnson, “As young persons in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we long for opportunities to be of service to a church that we owe so much to.”
The building will boast a large portico, leading to a stairway that will take individuals into a large two-story entry lobby area that contains wall galleries, ample greeting and reception areas, and a heritage room. It will also have a 500-square-foot conference room with adequate space for large meetings, a studio area to house the various needs of the church’s communication arm, and other support areas on the ground floor.
The second floor will have a smaller lobby area; generous offices for directors; a room for accountants; offices of the president, treasurer, and secretary; and other facilities.
Israel Leito, president of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, who presented the devotional message at the ceremony, challenged the leadership of the union to finish the new building in time for the division year-end meeting, scheduled for October 31 to November 3, 2011, in Nassau.
Roderick Sands, treasurer of ACUM, led out in an appeal for gifts and offerings that saw financial pledges and presentations from the conferences and missions of ACUM.
Greetings came from Elie Henry, secretary of the Inter-American Division; Everett Brown, president of the Jamaica Union Conference; and The Honorable Hubert Minnis, MP, minister of health of the Bahamas.
On January 14, 2011, ACUM held its first executive committee meeting, and its inauguration service was held on Saturday, January 15, 2011. ACUM was organized on November 29, 2010, as one of two union conferences from the West Indies Union Conference, and comprises three conferences, one mission, and six primary and secondary schools in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It also co-owns and operates, with the Jamaica Union Conference, one of the largest Seventh-day Adventist universities, Northern Caribbean University (NCU), located in Mandeville, Jamaica.