Bahamas Parliament Recognizes
New Adventist Union
Prime Minister commends church’s outreach
BY NIGEL COKE, communication director, Jamaica Union Conference
During a parliament meeting in May, Bahamas' national leader said the Caribbean island nation welcomes the Seventh-day Adventist Church's emphasis on health, strong families, and education.
"Your faith ministry and social outreach programs resonate with significant numbers of our citizens," said Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, introducing a bill to recognize the church's newly established Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission as a legal entity of the church in the Bahamas.
Parliament unanimously voted to approve the legislation.
Church leaders first created the union mission when they split the former 104-year-old West Indies Union Conference into two administrative regions: the Jamaica Union Conference; and the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission, which includes the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands and serves some 25,000 church members. The reorganization recognized membership growth in the region.
As well as granting official recognition, passage of the May 9 bill gives church administration in the Bahamas the authority to transact business and fulfill legal obligations, said Leonard Johnson, Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission president.
Speaking in favor of the bill, Parliamentarian Tommy Turnquest said the Adventist church in Bahamas should be proud of its role in the community, specifically its outreach to young people, the Bahama Journal reported.
Parliamentarian Fred Mitchell commended the church's humanitarian work on the island, citing food distribution and home repair projects. "I would like to thank them for it," Mitchell said. Other parliamentarians pointed out the church's high standards of education and outreach programs.
The Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission was inaugurated in January and comprises three conferences, one mission and six primary and secondary schools in the region. It also owns and operates, with the Jamaica Union Conference, the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica.
-- The Adventist News Network also contributed to this story