The nucleus of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the Cayman Islands commenced in the year 1894 after Gilbert McLaughlin, a Caymanian sea captain was converted and accepted the tenets of Adventism in Bonacca, Honduras and returned at East End, Grand Cayman and donated land for the first church.
At about the same time, two literature evangelists, F.I. Richardson and B.B. Newman from the United States arrived in Grand Cayman to do medical missionary work and remained until 1897, where they conducted evangelistic meetings in George Town.
Pastor Frank Hall, a Jamaican became the first ordained Adventist minister to set foot on the island of Grand Cayman in 1905. By the end of his tenure in 1909 a total of 20 persons were baptized and Sabbath Schools were established in George Town and East End.
Meanwhile, the seed for Adventism in Cayman Brac was sowed in the 1890’s when Torebo Lazzari a Caymanian seaman (known as Uncle Tebbie) was exposed to the church in Bonacca. Thus in 1929 16 candidates were baptized in Cayman Brac by Pastor H.P. Lawson of Jamaica who also organized the first church in the Creek, Cayman Brac.
The decade of the 1930’s was ushered in with Pastor I.G. Knight stationed in Grand Cayman at the helm of the work. Pastor Knight was successful in building three churches namely East End, George Town and Creek (Cayman Bac). The combined membership stood at 60 persons coupled with six Sabbath Schools at the end of his tenure in 1931.
However, during the 1940’s Brother George Merren a Caymainian lay took the responsibility of leading the Seventh-day Adventist work island wide when there were no pastors or president. Brother Theophilius Bodden of the East End church also played a vital role in the local leadership of the church.
Nevertheless, the decade of the 1950’s dawned with Pastor O. Schneider as president of the Cayman Islands Mission. By 1952 the mission was placed under the aegis of the West Jamaica Conference and Pastor B.E. Hurst was the leader. But by 1954 the Cayman Islands was moved under the umbrella of West Indies Union.
Moreover, the decade of the 1960’s go off the ground with Pastor Ghantz serving as president in 1963. He was followed by Pastor G. Weiderman who took office in 1964and served for three years, the membership stood at 298 at the end of his term.
Next, in 1964 Maxine Gouldbourne made history by becoming the first Caymanian Secretary/Treasurer of the Cayman Islands Mission. Mrs. Gouldbourne also acted as president during her 26 years of service.
Likewise, Sister Gleeda Forbes a contemporary of Mrs. Gouldbourne was the premier Adventist education pioneer in the Cayman Islands. She taught hundreds in her school, which became the nucleus of Cayman Academy.
On the other hand, the decade of the 1970 can be termed, “the decade of evangelism” because Pastor L.V. McMillan succeeded Pastor L. Lyle as president of the Cayman Islands Mission and set a new record in evangelism by baptizing 117 souls which was a first for Cayman. Elder McMillan launched a strong program of stewardship coupled with development program. The present George Town church was built during his administration. Pastor S.G. Cole succeeded him in 1974 and also placed a lot of emphasis on evangelism.
Otherwise, by 1977 Pastor Trevor Thompson became president and the membership stood at 505. Elder Thompson led the mission in building. For example, an apartment complex was built to accommodate three pastoral families. Next a new ultra modern school was built (Edmer). A new church in East End was built and dedicated.
Thus, in 1984 Pastor N.E. Scavella succeeded Pastor T.W. Thompson. Some of the accomplishments of Pastor Scavella’s administration included the building of a new Mission Headquarters, establishment of the North Side church, and acquisition of prime raw land for the mission.
Furthermore, the last decade of the second millennium mushroomed with Dr. Jeffrey K. Thompson being elected to presidency of the Cayman Islands Mission. He succeeded Pastor N. E. Scavella. Dr. Thompson led out in two evangelistic campaigns in 1991 and 200 souls were baptized collectively. In fact, in 1992 the Cayman Islands Mission became the first field in the world church to reach its global mission goal. Dr. Thompson was instrumental in planting four new congregations coupled with launching the ECHOmagazine. Additionally, in 1996 Dr. Thompson led the mission in establishing the Cayman Adventist Television Network in association with Three Angels Broadcasting Network. The station is on the air 24 hours daily.
More importantly, on June 12, 2004 the Cayman Islands Mission became the Cayman Islands Conference. The following officers were elected: Dr. Jeffrey K. Thompson, president; Pastor Wilton McDonald, Secretary; and Mrs. Sheila Woods, Treasurer. There are 11 churches in the Cayman Islands and approximately 3,000 members.
Similarly, on September 1, 2004 Cayman Academy, which operated as an elementary school was upgraded to a junior high school. Each year a new grade will be added in an effort to achieve full high school status. In fact, over 176 students are currently enrolled at Cayman Academy.