Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission

By Cheryl R. Rolle

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Cheryl R. Rolle, Ed.D. (La Sierra University, Riverside, California), is the associate secretary of Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission. She also directs the departments of education, children’s ministries, and communication. She has served as a teacher, vice principal, principal, conference children’s ministries and education director, and counselor of the Pathfinder organization in the Bahamas. Dr. Rolle is also a member of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools, the College of the Bahamas Council, the Bahamas Family Life and Health Education Advisory Board, and the Advisory Council on Education in the Bahamas. She and her husband, Pedro, have two adult children.

First Published: December 11, 2020

Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission is part of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission covers Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands; comprising the Cayman Islands, North Bahamas, South Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands Conferences. Its headquarters is in Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas.

Statistics (June 30, 2019): Churches, 86; membership, 31,577; population, 494,000.1

Origins and Recognition

At the General Conference Executive Committee meeting of April 7, 2010, its members voted to create new management regions in parts of the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory.2 This historic vote realized the long-held dream of visionary leaders of the Adventist conferences and missions in the region. This action was also a testament to the supportive leadership of His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, former president of West Indies Union Conference and Jamaica’s current governor-general; Pastor Derek Bignall, West Indies Union Conference’s last president; and his fellow officers.

On April 12, 2010, Pastor Israel Leito, president of IAD, traveled to Nassau, Bahamas, to share the committee’s decision and relevant information concerning the restructuring of West Indies Union Conference, which covered the territory of the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Jamaica. He shared this information in a meeting with church leaders and representatives from the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, which would now comprise a new union. The reorganization of the West Indies Union Conference would establish the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission with headquarters in Nassau, Bahamas, and the Jamaica Union Conference with headquarters in Mandeville, Jamaica.3

Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission was officially recognized at the General Conference Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church held in June 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Pastor Leonard Johnson was elected its first president with Pastor Peter Kerr as executive secretary and Elder Roderick Sands as treasurer on July 1, 2010, during an IAD executive committee meeting.

Ceremony of Separation

After months of preparation, in a solemn Ceremony of Separation on November 29, 2010, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands flags were each lowered to the tune of their national anthems and given to Pastor Leonard Johnson, symbolizing the dissolution of West Indies Union Conference and the establishment of Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission. Over 320 delegates from the Adventist churches in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Jamaica as well as hundreds of members, former church workers, and leaders witnessed history in the making at the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica, during the 14th and final session of West Indies Union Conference’s 104 years of existence.4

Following the Ceremony of Separation, over 50 delegates from the Adventist conferences in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas and from the mission in the Turks and Caicos Islands gathered in the auditorium at Northern Caribbean University for the inaugural session of Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission. Elder Elie Henry, IAD executive secretary, called the session to order. At this inaugural session, the delegates voted union departmental directors to serve for five years. They also voted Pastor Michael Smith as president of the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission with Hopeton Bansie as secretary-treasurer. The Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission executive committee members were also voted into place.

The inaugural executive committee meeting of the newly organized union mission was held on January 14, 2011, at its temporary location in the Summer Winds Plaza on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway, Nassau, Bahamas. At Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission’s Service of Consecration and Inauguration on January 15, 2011, Pastor Leito challenged the new leaders and committee members to be servants of the people. On January 16, the groundbreaking ceremony for Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission’s new office took place at Bethany Cove, Westridge, Nassau. The first ordination of a pastor presided by Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission occurred on February 5, 2011. At the ordination of Pastor Keith Albury of South Bahamas Conference, President Johnson echoed Pastor Leito’s earlier sentiments.

Construction and Dedication

In late May 2011, construction began on the new headquarters on Gladstone Road, Nassau, Bahamas. On October 30, 2011, shortly before celebrating its first anniversary, Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission dedicated its new office. The two-story building was built at this location instead of Bethany Cove, Westridge, where the groundbreaking ceremony took place because the Bahamas government offered to lease the Gladstone property to Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission. With this agreement, once an investment of about $700,000+ BSD was made, Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission could own the property in three years for only $10,000 BSD.

Pastor Israel Leito, president of the IAD, was the special guest speaker at the office building’s dedication. Also attending were the Rt. Honourable Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Honourable Perry Christie, Leader of the Official Opposition Party, and the Honourable Dr. Hubert Minnis, Member of Parliament. Nearly 150 union leaders and members of the IAD who were attending year-end meetings in Nassau joined the celebration with Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission.

To praise God and in celebration of its first year, Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission recorded a momentous event when it entered its first IAD annual youth Bible Bowl in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on December 10, 2011. Waylon Johnson from North Bahamas Conference represented Atlantic Caribbean Union Conference and secured the championship, which made him the first English-speaking participant to win the competition since its beginnings in 2003.

Headquarters and Territory

As of June 2019, Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission has 31,577 members and 86 churches and is one of twenty-four unions that make up the IAD. Its headquarters are located on 116 Gladstone Road, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas.5

Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission oversees four conferences and six primary and secondary schools in three countries: the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It also co-owns and operates Northern Caribbean University, the oldest private tertiary institution in Jamaica, with Jamaica Union Conference.6

Guided by its mission, “Proclaiming Jesus Christ to The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission aims to spread the good news of salvation to the Atlantic Caribbean region’s people.

Special Meetings and Events

July 14-17, 2013 – Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission held its first teachers’ convention with the theme of “A Teacher After God’s Own Heart” in Miami, Florida, with 126 participants under the direction of Dr. Cheryl Rolle, union education director.

July 27, 2013 – Elder Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and his wife, Nancy, visited Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission for worship and Sabbath celebration. Over 1,800 people came together to worship God and hear from the leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the Sheraton Hotel in Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas. Pastor Leon Wellington from the IAD; Dr. Leonard Johnson, Peter Kerr, and Roderick Sands from Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission; and the administrators of the conferences and mission that comprised the territory of Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission were also present. Other special guests from the Bahamas included the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas; Dr. Hubert Minnis, Opposition Leader; and Dr. Gloria Ferguson, secretary of the Bahamas Christian Council.

April 18-21, 2014 – The first union-wide ministerial retreat was held in Miami, Florida, under the direction of Dr. Leonard Johnson, Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission president and ministerial director.

April 5-12, 2015 – The first union-wide Pathfinder camporee was held in Nassau, Bahamas, under the direction of Pastor Andrew Burrows, Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission youth director.

November 1, 2015 – The three union officers were elected by the IAD executive committee to serve another term.

December 6-7, 2015 – The first quinquennial session of Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission was held at the Centreville Church in Nassau, Bahamas. Elder Israel Leito, president of IAD, presided over the session. Elder Elie Henry, IAD secretary, and Elder Filiberto Verduzco, IAD treasurer, were also in attendance.

November 13-14, 2016 – The first Administrators’ Summit of Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission was held at the Comfort Suites in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

March 27, 2018 – Pastor Peter Kerr was elected to serve as president of Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission, replacing Dr. Leonard Johnson, who was elected to serve as the executive secretary of IAD on March 26, 2018. Dr. Cheryl Rolle was also elected to serve as the executive secretary of the union, making her the first female to serve in this position in the IAD.

December 2, 2018 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Mission became the Turks and Caicos Islands Conference.

List of Administrators

Presidents: Leonard A. Johnson (2011-2018); Peter Kerr (2018- ).

Secretaries: Peter Kerr (2011-2018); Cheryl R. Rolle (2018- ).

Treasurers: Roderick N. Sands (2011- ).

Sources

“Children Win Souls for Christ.” LOGOS: April 17, 2010 Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Accessed 2020. https://www.southbahamasconference.org/oldsite/resources/Logos-2010/April-17-2010.pdf.

Henry, Lawrie. “West Indies: Adventist Church officially reorganizes in two separate regions.” Seventh-day Adventist Church: Inter-American Division. Accessed 2020. https://www.interamerica.org/2010/12/west-indies-adventist-church-officially-reorganizes-in-two-separate-regions/.

“History of the Northern Caribbean University.” Northern Caribbean University: A Seventh-day Adventist Institution. Accessed 2020. https://ncu.edu.jm/weare.

Oliver, Ansel. “Jamaica to Become Union Conference: Other management restructures in Latin America accommodate church growth.” Adventist World. June 2010. Accessed 2020. https://archives.adventistworld.org/2010/june/jamaica-to-become-union-conference.html.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Notes

  1. “Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (2020), accessed October 27, 2020, https://www.adventistyearbook.org/entity?EntityID=32461.

  2. Ansel Oliver, “Jamaica to Become Union Conference: Other management restructures in Latin America accommodate church growth,” Adventist World, June 2010, accessed 2020, https://archives.adventistworld.org/2010/june/jamaica-to-become-union-conference.html.

  3. “Children Win Souls for Christ,” LOGOS: April 17, 2010 Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, accessed 2020, https://www.southbahamasconference.org/oldsite/resources/Logos-2010/April-17-2010.pdf.

  4. Lawrie Henry, “West Indies: Adventist Church officially reorganizes in two separate regions,” Seventh-day Adventist Church: Inter-American Division, accessed 2020, https://www.interamerica.org/2010/12/west-indies-adventist-church-officially-reorganizes-in-two-separate-regions/.

  5. “Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Online Yearbook, accessed 2020, https://www.adventistyearbook.org/entity?EntityID=32461.

  6. “History of the Northern Caribbean University,” Northern Caribbean University: A Seventh-day Adventist Institution, accessed 2020, https://ncu.edu.jm/weare.

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Rolle, Cheryl R. "Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 11, 2020. Accessed June 13, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2C3Q.

Rolle, Cheryl R. "Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 11, 2020. Date of access June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2C3Q.

Rolle, Cheryl R. (2020, December 11). Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2C3Q.