A service was held at St. Andrews Methodist Church, Dundas Town, on July 15 to celebrate leaders within the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church.
Eighteen leaders who had served the church for years were honoured for the roles they had performed such as preaching, chairing meetings, raising money and conducting prayer meetings.
Lay preachers Vincent Higgs, and Patrick Bethel along with Julie Cates, Victor Cornish and Carrie Cash are retiring from active service. The others, namely Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Malone, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Neiily, Donald Elden, Cleola Sawyer, Paul Thompson, Gary Smith and Michael Knowles will carry on with their active duties.
President of the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church, Reverend Christopher Neilly, who travelled from Freeport for the occasion, praised the honourees as; “People who give unselfishly of their time and resources to keep the churches open. They are the salt of the earth who have done their best to transform the land we love. “
He went on to stress how important and valuable the laity are in the Methodist Church, playing a very significant role. Since there are three churches in the Eastern Abaco Methodist Region, —Epworth Chapel, Cherokee; St. Andrews, Dundas Town and St. James, Hope Town, yet only one ordained Minister, the laity keeps the churches’ doors open. Reverend Neilly congratulated the honourees telling them; “What you have done is greatly appreciated and we celebrate it today.” He then called upon others to carry on the work of those who are retiring saying; “The older ones have run well but the young ones can still run.”
Gary Smith, one of the honourees, responded to Reverend Neilly’s remarks by stating; “It is only right that we give back some of what has been given to us. Even those retiring will remain in the service of the church so we can just change the name from active duty to active service.”
Each of the honourees was presented with a commemorative plaque, books and basket of flowers by Reverend Neilly and Reverend Jacinta Marie Neilly, Minister of the three Methodist Churches of Abaco.
Also participating in the service was Reverend Willish Johnson, Priest of the Anglican Churches of St. John the Baptist, Marsh Harbor, and St. Martins, Sandy Point. Various members of the three Methodist churches took part in the scripture readings, prayers and vocal selections.