Dr. Kenneth Manders is the re-elected president of the Bermuda Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. On Sunday, September 30, 2018 at the Hamilton SDA Church, the constituents voted to return the entire administrative team: Dr. Manders as President, Elder DeJuan Tull as Executive Secretary and Elder Aaron Spencer as Treasurer to serve the Bermuda Conference for another term. The president shared some interesting facts about the team: of the five presidents that have served the Bermuda Conference, three have been Bermudian, of which he is one. Secondly, all three of the officers are Oakwood College (University) graduates. This gives Dr. Manders the distinction of being the first Oakwood graduate to become the President of the Bermuda Conference. Lastly, one last fact about the Administrative team is that they all married Jamaican brides! Dr. Manders and his wife Claudette have been married 33 years and have been blessed with three sons.
Unique to the Bermuda Conference is the practice of dual responsibilities for the pastors serving there. Pastors serve as both pastors and departmental leaders. This practice, state President Manders, “prepares you for management and leadership skills” and credits it as being instrumental, along with Literature Evangelism, in preparing him for his present position. Dr. Manders shares that even now, as President, he too, is pastoring. He has a passion for Christ and for service and feels that is what gives him his drive and his energy. Keeping in touch with the people is important. “I have a need to connect with the people”, states Dr. Manders.
Dr. Manders and the Administrative Team are entering into their second term. During their first term, The Lord guided them to lead the conference and the ABC to be debt free! Christian Education was a priority and whereas enrollment was down, they achieved an increase in enrollment during the first term.
Church attendance also became a priority during the first term. Dr. Manders and the Administrative Team led the conference in a mission to address attendance and church growth by instituting 4 areas of concentration: Spirituality – The focus was placed on involvement and attendance for the 4,027 members of the conference and reclaiming the membership. As the result, five of the 11 churches in the conference have increased attendance. Reclamation – There were 2,500 missing members reported. One thousand have been visited. Evangelism – The initiative began with local church meetings, then district meetings and concluded with an island-wide meeting. Of all the denominations on the island, the Seventh-day Adventist church is the fastest growing. And the last area of concentration was Stewardship.
Dr. Manders explained that for the second term the plan is to continue with the previous 4 areas of concentration but to add Discipleship as a fifth area. They will be encouraging and assisting pastors to “birth more ministries at the local level” and to move their churches from “pastor driven” to helping the membership become more involved in ministry. Utilizing the services of Sung Kwon, Executive Director of the North American Division Community Services, more emphasis will be placed on community based ministry and “touching the community in the area of health. One long-range goal is to have a day facility attached to the ABC for health services, health education, etc.
In the area of youth and young adults, President Manders would like initiatives developed in the area of retention.
The goals and vision presented at the 2nd Quadrennial Session of the Bermuda Conference surely are aligned with its mission – The Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church of Bermuda is to reach every person, family and group in Bermuda with the distinctive, Christ-centered, global Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.
When President Manders was asked when it is all said and done, what would he like to be said about his service in leading the Bermuda Conference, he replied, “It is a joy to be in God’s service. I have a passion for the people of Bermuda.”
Submitted by Jill Edmond