In keeping with the Youth Month celebrations, on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, youth leaders assumed the positions of administrators and directors at the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventists for a day.
For the first time since 2016, the youth were invited to serve as leaders in the conference office for a day. “We decided to restart this initiative because it provides an opportunity for youth leaders to experience service in the church at another level,” says Director of Youth Ministries, Pastor Dwayne Scott. He further explained that the goal of this program is to “empower and encourage youths to get involved and embrace leadership in the church.”
After a process of election, in which the names of prospective individuals were recommended by the Youth Advisory, and then sanctioned by the administrators and directors at the conference level, these individuals were contacted and briefed on the day’s proceedings and protocols.
The list of Youth Conference Officials is as follows:-
President: Brendon Coleman
Executive Secretary: Chantell Guthrie
Treasurer: Desmich Johnson
Vice President: Daniel Garnett
Ministerial Secretary: Aaron Lewis
Communication Director: Dorrethea Grant
Health Ministries Director: Chantel Wynter
Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director: Janeka Allen
Stewardship, Men’s Ministry, Spirit of Prophecy and Wills Trust Director: Kamari Jones
Youth Director: Ragel Barrett
Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Director: Veronica Johnson
Prayer Ministry: Shereen Boyden
Women’s Children and Adolescents Ministries Director: Kezia Hewitt
Community Services and Publishing Director: Nikyra Bansie
Family Life Director: Donya Gordon
The day opened with a soul-stirring devotion conducted by the youth officials who traveled from Manchester, Clarendon, and May Pen, the three parishes that constitute the Central Jamaica Conference. Acting President Brendon Coleman charged those who were present with a reminder that they are the “The Ultimate Sign” of the second coming and that the responsibility of sharing the Three Angels’ Message with the world is imperative.
Devotion was followed by a welcome and an introduction of the ‘shadow’ directors to the staff, administrators, and directors of the conference by the president, Pastor Nevail Barrett. The youths were briefed on the roles and functions of the different departments and the church's policies.
Then the work began.
The junior team separated from each other to meet with their assigned director, discuss important matters, and experience a typical day for the administration of the conference. Answering phone calls, meeting with different boards and visitors, planning events, perusing documents, and updating files are just a few of the many assignments that the eager team of ’shadow’ directors was designated to complete. Most importantly, this was an opportunity for the youth of the church to present fresh ideas to the directors and to be exposed to the realities that the departments within the conference are facing.
The acting administrators and directors reconvened at 2:00 p.m. after a warm meal to examine their findings. They contemplated possible causes and creative solutions for the various issues that they gathered during the conversations with the administrators.
“It was good to see that the young people had recommendations. They understood their roles and that they’re future leaders in the church that can take over these positions whether in the local church or at a conference level,” reported the ''shadow” Youth Ministries Director, Ragel Barrett.
Acting Executive Secretary, Mrs. Chantell Guthrie reported the suggestions to the conference committee which received these ideas with pleased expressions and commitments to consider the proposals from the youths.
“My experience today was very enlightening, inspiring, and empowering. I hope that the conference continues with this initiative,” Acting President Brendon Coleman remarked.
At the end of the day, everyone agrees that this is an initiative that must not cease, but we are “hopeful that it can be executed yearly with new youths serving every year,” says Pastor Scott.
The junior administration for the day was presented with certificates from President Nevail Barrett and a slice - or two - of cake to express appreciation for their service, efforts, and time.