Adventist Youth Leaders Pass the Baton


Youth Director Henry Vaughan (back, far right) and Associate Youth Director Merle Watkins (front, far right), and Amplified Radio Ministry Director Denisha Dracket (back, fifth from left) with the newly installed officers for the Youth Federation. Front, from left: Melissa Smith, Althea Miller, Kaneil Barrett, Shena Gouldbourne, Osmond Lynch, and Jodian McLeod (President); back, from left, Kevron Reid, Chamayrane Williams, Wrendon Timothy, Terence Blake, (Denisha Dracket), Delano Myers, and Kasey Reid. Missing from the photo are Deandro Dracket, Lincoln Charles, Pauline Greene and Kristen Reid.

The Youth Ministries Department of the Conference of Seventh-day Adventist passed the baton of service on Saturday (4 February) to a new slate of officers who will shoulder the leadership for the battalion of Cayman Islands Adventist youth over the next two years. The gathering of some 500 youth, their mentors and other supporters had assembled at Kings Church for the installation of the new officers.

The installation of the sixteen newly installed executive committee officers for 2017-2019 for the Youth Ministries Department coincided with a re-organisation and re-visioning of the department. The executive committee will administer three subsidiaries of the Youth Ministries Department: the Youth Federation (comprising Amplified, a radio and community services agency; Pathfinders; and IServe, a ministry through the genre of drama and other performing arts); the AY Leaders Association (encompassing representatives from the sixteen churches); and the Youth Association (this is to be activated in 2018 with further organisational developments).

Heading the new slate of executive officers is President Jodian McLeod and assistant presidents Kaneil Barrett and Kristen Reid. At the top of the pinnacle of the re-organised Youth Ministries Department is Youth Minister Pastor Henry Vaughan and Assistant Youth Ministries Director Merle Watkins.

Outgoing President Saskia Lewis-Stephenson, the counterpart of the president of the new executive committee, said that she was leaving with confidence that the future was in good hands: “Our future is bright,” she said. “It is so wonderful to see so many young people stepping up to the challenge.”

Youth Elder Osmond Lynch challenging youth to be transformed for service.

The mantra of the Youth Ministries Department was “Salvation and Service,” said Ms Denisha Dracket, the leader of Amplified’s radio and community service ministry, at the installation ceremony. Ms. Dracket was honoured for her 2015-16 leadership.

Taking his cue from the youth speakers before him, Youth Pastor Henry Vaughan said: “Young people are an invaluable resource – we need to make an investment in them,” adding: “The future of our cause depends on young people.”

Pastor Henry then presented the new slate of executive committee officers in a brief consecration ceremony. He was followed by Youth Elder Osmond Lynch who charged youth “to be transformed for service” and pleaded for the church as a whole to form a supportive partnership with the youth leaders.

“Don’t judge what is on the outside,” he said to the church membership. “God is working on the inside.”

He encouraged youth to venture out into the community to forge relationships with those who needed the healing force of salvation. “God is calling us to be labourers in His service, and He will equip us,” he said.

Outgoing Youth Federation President Saskia Lewis-Stephenson (right) receives a token of appreciation from Assistant Youth Director Merle Watkins. At left is Youth Director Henry Vaughan.

To be equipped, the youth elder said, youth must strengthen their spiritual core, an exercise that would ultimately transform them for service.

To conclude the ceremony, twenty-four youth leaders from churches and various youth organisations were recognised for their service for the 2015-16 period: Denisha Dracket (Amplified); Carlene Lawrence (Berea Church); Elizabeth Vallejos (Bethany); Paulina (Nancy) Clarke (Bethel); Carla McLaughlin (Bodden Town); Audrey Stephenson (Creek, Cayman Brac); Benicia Powell (East End); Wrendon Timothy (Ebenezer); Michael Rhoden (Ephesus); Deandro Dracket (Filadelfia); Mavis Grant (George Town); Kasey Reid (“IServe”); Lynette Monteith (Kings); Kevin Miller (Maranatha); Eveteria Solomon (Newlands); Steve Miller (North Side); Kim Miller (Savannah); Emerson Piercy (Solid Rock); Chamayrane Williams (West Bay).

Radio Ministry’s Leader Denisha Dracket (right) receives a certificate from Assistant Youth Director Merle Watkins. At left is Youth Director Henry Vaughan.

Special recognition went to outgoing President Lewis-Stephenson; Ms Pauline Greene, previously serving as secretary and now continuing as assistant secretary; Mr. Robert Lynch, who served as media group leader; and Ms Shanda Gallego, outgoing AY Association Leader and continuing adviser to Amplified.

Some of the large corps of AY Federation youth leaders.

The award ceremony ended with special recognition of the dedicated service of Mrs. Merle Watkins, who continues as Assistant Youth Ministries Director.

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