Students challenged to stand for principle and righteousness
Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director - Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Friday, July 10, 2020
Confronted with closed schools, fear and concern for Covid-19 coupled with government issued constraints on assembly, conference administrators, pastors, teachers, students and church leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica hosted its first virtual Service of Thanksgiving and Consecration to God. Educators and students alike gave thanks to God for His leading in the church’s educational system despite the challenges.
With the aid of technology through the church’s JA Adventists Online virtual church platform, hundreds of students from the 27 Adventist operated schools across the island participated in the consecration service which was held under the theme Navigating the new normal with Christ. The service was held on June 27, 2020 and was coordinated by the education department of the Jamaica Union Conference.
“As the new norm threatens with immorality on every side, students, I say to you stand on the word of God, do not vacillate in the pool of popularity but stand for principle and righteousness,” said Dr. Meric Walker, executive director, JAMU, who challenged the students to remain true to the values they had been taught at their institution of learning. “Once you remain faithful the Lord who is the principal of the universe will exalt you in due time.”
Time of Celebration
The consecration service was coordinated by Pastor Michael Henry, education director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica who said it was a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the graduates as they prepare to transition to another level in their educational pursuits. Henry acknowledged that the advent of Covid-19 to the island created new challenges for schools across the country but was confident that the Lord would make a way.
“The situation following the pandemic has been unnerving but we continue to thank God, for with Him, we have been able to navigate the difficult times we have been facing,” Pastor Henry said.
Adventist Christian education
In his discourse in the afternoon Pastor Michael Henry sold the benefits of Adventist Christian education and used the platform to educate the church on its purpose in the plan of salvation.
“Education has to do with the bank of learning, the things we learn, the attitudes and skills and talents that we develop in order for us to meet our daily challenges in order for us to build community and for us to be self-actualized. When we talk about Christian education we are talking about all these things from a Christian perspective but when we talk about Adventist Christian education, we are talking about all these things not just from a Christian perspective but with an Adventist bias.”
For Pastor Henry education is only as good as the philosophy that undergirds it and Adventist Christian education looks through the lens of the Adventist philosophy. “This cannot be separated from the mission of the church,” he said, noting that in Adventist philosophy,” the work of education and redemption are one.” One of the purpose of Adventist Christian education is to “transmit our Christian heritage from generation to generation,” he added.
Strong support for Adventist Christian education was given from the Conference leaders who along with their education directors, gave words of advice and encouragement to the students.
Pastor Glen Samuel, president, WJC, commended students in the graduating class for staying the course and thanked teachers for displaying creativity during the period of the pandemic.
President of North East Jamaica Conference, Pastor Adelai Blythe gave good words of advice to the graduating class when he said “With Christ in the lead, you will succeed. Never leave Christ out of the equation and always put him first.”
Pastor Karl Archer, president, North Jamaica Conference said that from the time of Samuel the prophet God had established the first school of the prophets and down through the ages even to today, God has established schools of learning for the benefit of his people.
East Jamaica Conference president, Pastor Eric Nathan advised students that navigating the new norm calls for flexibility, determination and diligence but added that “success in any area requires hard work and commitment.”
Pastor Nevail Barrett, executive Secretary, Central Jamaica Conference commended teachers for the work they had done during the Covid-19 which has changed the landscape of our society, our economy, the way we live, worship and even the way we provide education to our students.
“The way ahead may seem dark but God still leads, just give him your hand and he will take you places you’ve never dreamed of.”
The purpose of the consecration service was to provide a platform for educators and students to offer thanks to God and commit themselves to him as they transition to a new phase life. This they did through the use of songs, scripture readings, prayers and musical renditions from students across the island throughout the day. In the afternoon students, teachers and principals from the schools testified of the impact Adventist Christian education had made on their lives.