An equal mix of men and women as well as faiths comprise the newly elected Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) team for the next three-year term.
Bishop Delton Fernander, who was returned uncontested to his second term, one which he emphatically says will be his last term, is joined on the BCC by Pastor Mario Moxey, first vice president; Bishop Gregory Minnis, second vice president; Reverend Dr. Ronald Campbell, treasurer; as well as Reverend Carla Culmer, third vice president; Reverend Gloria Ferguson, fourth vice-president; Reverend Dr. Beverly Strachan, secretary; and Reverend Dr. Roslyn Astwood, administrative assistant.
Fernander said Moxey, pastor at Bahamas Harvest Church, being elected onto the Council speaks volumes to independent churches being accepted, as well as the representation of the Methodists at the table in Culmer.
BCC elections were held on Tuesday, June 2, after having been postponed due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic.
With The Bahamas, with 103 confirmed cases and 11 deaths, and the world currently battling the new coronavirus, Fernander says he and his new team will work to integrate technology into the BCC, allowing for a more integrated network for all churches within the country.
“I hope to integrate technology into the Council and have a more integrated network that we know all of the churches that are within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and they know how to reach us and we can do it via technology. And also, to reach the smaller churches that feel left out…that feel disconnected to the voice of the Council,” said Fernander.
“Times have been very hard for many Bahamians who are still grappling with the destruction left behind by [Hurricane] Dorian, and now the economic fallout from the coronavirus and the stringent measures used to diminish its spread across the globe. One such measure was limiting church gatherings to 10 persons which meant that pastors and other church leaders had to use modern technology to connect with their members and to spread the gospel. As we move forward, as president of the Bahamas Christian Council, it is my intent to assist and encourage the Council and churches to effectively integrate technology into its routine communications and outreach efforts.”
He said the coronavirus, which saw churches closed to in-person services along with the rest of the nation, in an effort to contain the spread of the global health pandemic, has shown the importance of technology. Fernander said it also exposed the BCC and churches to things they could do better with partnership with companies that might not be faith-based, but whose tools can be used for faith-based missions.
At the outset of his second tenure, the most challenging aspect to his first term, he said, was being able to reach and unify the church. He said it’s still an ongoing battle that he hopes to conquer.
He was most proud of the BCC’s responsiveness and its meticulous in approach to challenges. Faced with both Hurricane Dorian’s devastation to Abaco and Grand Bahama in September and now a global health pandemic, Fernander said they had some “troubled seas” and that it’s not been easy, but they were able to navigate as a body of Christ.
“Bit-by-bit through the grace of God, we have been able to respond in a timely manner, and I hope that we only get better at that. We’re not all the same, but we all serve the same master, and so when it is difficult, we really trust on the God that we serve and the mission that we have to bring us through,” said the BCC chief.
“I also intend to advocate strongly to ensure that whenever possible, the nation pauses to collectively petition our Lord in prayer, understanding that in order for our land to be healed, we must humble ourselves, pray, turn from our wicked ways and seek his face. If there were any time that we need the covering of a merciful savior over the affairs of The Bahamas, it is now,” he said.
Fernander said he was also “humbled” that he was entrusted to continue the process of “navigating these difficult waters” with a “brilliant” new executive team.
He also intends to place “intense focus” on strengthening the family unit and their relationship to Christ in his second term.
“The family is the bedrock of our nation and should we succeed in its fortification, we will simultaneously address some of our social ills.”
Fernander said the work of the church in The Bahamas grows by the day with many people in need of assistance, and he said to know that the same God who brought his people this far, will surely bring them through again.
“I take very seriously the great need for people to feel the love of God through his servants and the directive for Christians to be the ‘salt’ of the earth as it says in the fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew. As church reopens its doors, we must also open our minds to new ways of reaching people and fulfilling our mandate as followers of Christ,” he said.
“We want to continue to be relevant to those in need in our country and we want to mobilize our churches to integrate technology, and also help in the training and operating of all of those who would be ministering and counseling and servicing the wider community of The Bahamas. In particular, it is my hope during this next tenure we could put a stronger focus on the family at all tiers in terms of abuse, in terms of family counseling, in terms of focus on Christ, to bring a stronger nation and stronger Christian witness in our country.”