No Digital Affairs This Christmas

While most of us will be having lots of wholesome fun during the Christmas season, there will be some who will be causing damage to relationships and creating great emotional pain to others with the use of digital equipment—cell phones. One of the fastest growing methods of causing strife in relationships is texting or text messaging. That is the use of cell phones or online messengers to transmit secret, sexual, romantic messages to someone you are not married to or not in a relationship with. When the Blackberry was first introduced, there was a surge in the number of couples who accessed marital therapy in the Bahamas and in many other countries. Why? Because a spouse would have discovered, after probing his or her partner’s cell phone, intimate messages to or from a stranger. These messages often caused heated debates between spouses whether or not the partner was cheating of chatting. A question often asked was: “Why are you saying those things to that person and you have never said them to me?”

Too many of today’s relationship are on a fast track to destruction. Relationship specialist, Dr Sheri Meyers, in her book “Chatting or Cheating: How to detect infidelity, rebuild love, and affair proof your marriage” states that “It used to take a long time for affairs to develop. Not anymore. With the advent of social media and technology at our fingertips 24/7, the pathway to cheating is fast and practically unobstructed. It is easier than ever to meet others, stay constantly (and secretly) in contact, get intimate and cheat on our partners.” It is my observation that this phenomenon is occurring in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

As I have stated in many of my previous articles, most affairs do not start with deliberate, intentional acts. They move progressively slowly down to a precipice of pain and misery. The difference today is the “slow” journey has gotten faster—very fast. Traditionally affairs started face to face with “innocent friendship” until it mushroomed into a heated, passionate encounter. However, many individuals today, with the use of cell phones, online messaging, and emails are secretly diving quickly into intimate sharing. The practice of openness and honesty has lost its meaning in many relationships. Some individuals try to keep their secret love affair hidden as long as possible thinking no one would ever find out. It seems to be a real fantasy world that offers some form of satisfaction, although unreal, to the participants. The defense phrase by many is “we are only friends.”

When an emotional need goes unmet, the marriage is vulnerable to an affair. Sadly, too many people are not even aware that their needs are not being met. Yes, that is true. Others are aware and have been complaining for years, but the other partner would not listen. Therefore the romantically starved partner may innocently seek a listening ear or someone who seems caring and understanding. Unknowingly, the affair begins. Here is my definition of an affair. “Whenever you say or do something to someone other than your spouse that you should first say or do to your spouse or only say or do to your spouse, you are either having an affair or you are at risk of having one.” It is a slippery slope and cyber technology has made it easier and faster. Avoid this trap.

The following tips are shared by Dr. Sheri Meyers and I thought would be beneficial to share. She indicates that the key to tell if you or your spouse is “chatting or cheating” is whether the three points are present: shared intimacy, secrecy and exclusion, or sexual chemistry. Read carefully the following quiz by Dr. Sheri Meyers and see if you are cheating or chatting.

Shared Intimacy
  • Are you exchanging personal, intimate, and confidential information (and/or had offline contact) with an online "friend" that your partner doesn't know about?
  • Are you giving more and more time, attention and emotional support to your "friend" and less to your partner at home?
  • Are you beginning to emotionally or physically withdraw from your partner, preferring to spend time away, online, talking or texting with your "friend" vs. connecting with your partner?
  • Are you constantly checking to see if your "friend" has made contact and/or are continually trying to come up with ways to connect and have contact?
  • Are you feeling high and happy when connected with your "friend" and low and lonely when you've been disconnected for too long?

Secrecy & Exclusion
  • Are you hiding your correspondence with your "friend" from your partner?
  • Are you becoming secretive or evasive about your activities, changing your passwords, getting new anonymous email addresses, setting up fake profiles, joining a dating or cheating hook-up site?
  • Are you avoiding getting into serious conversations with your partner?
  • Are you pretending you're single when you're not?
  • Are you spending a large amount of time (in person or online) talking, sharing, confiding with your friend and not telling your partner about it? Or worse, lying about who you are with?

Sexual Chemistry
  • Are you finding yourself sexually and/or emotionally aroused when you think about or have contact with your "friend"?
  • Are you sending or receiving flirtatious or sexy emails, texts, photos or videos?
  • Are you doing anything sexual using your webcam (or your imagination)? Having sexy chats? Sharing your sexual fantasies? Masturbating and/or mutually masturbating?
  • Are you imagining you are in bed with your "friend," while making love with your partner?
  • Are you feeling cold when it comes to having sex with your partner? More interested in reading a book, Facebooking, watching TV, or talking to your "friend" then making love with your partner?

If you answered yes to any of these statements, you should be aware that you are cheating and you need to quickly make a change in your behaviour. I encourage you to purchase the book mentioned in this article by Dr. Sheri Meyers. It will change your life. Have a very merry Christmas.

Article By: Pastor Barrington Brennen
Website: soencouragement.org

Welcome to Education Ministries

Education is a multifaceted experience. It develops the entire being physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. This page is intended to inspire you as you unfold the innate potential to be the child restored in God’s image.

Come along this journey of life-long learning and harness the skills and strategies for mind, body, and soul!

Welcome to the Education Page of the South Bahamas Conference! Here you will guided with helps and strategies for the student of any age and discipline.

South Bahamas Conference Prayer Breakfast

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In the Courtyard, was the theme chosen for the Prayer Breakfast that brought ASI members, families and friends together on December 9, 2012. Were Jesus to have found this gathering in the courtyard of His Sanctuary, He would have been pleased, leaving us with commendations and not chastisement as in days gone by. The atmosphere of fellowship and praised was framed by the decorative accents of burnt orange with white and cradled by the soft playing of inspirational music. Our special guests out of Florida USA, were the over 30 participants in the Family Life Weekend Cruise, sponsored by the Educational Foundation for Children’s Care INC. This group was lead by Pastor L. B. Wellington, Vice President of the Inter American Division.

A sumptuous vegetarian breakfast, complete with fruits and island tea, was followed by an unforgettable spiritual feast served up by Pastor Shian O’connor. The captivating presentation, entitled Mary had a Little Lamb, had listeners riveted to their seats as they journeyed back in time to the genesis of the real Christmas story. Bible based, thought provoking facts were explored, all the time begging for personal application of the gift of ‘The Lamb of God’ to each listener’s life. Renditions by our visiting recording artist, Pierre Wright, etched this occasion in our hearts as we shared personal testimonies and prayed together. Truly a memorable occasion where both body and soul were satisfied.

Heartiest appreciation is extended to the ASI executive without whom this project would still be just a dream.

Patrice Williams-Gordon
Special Events and Fund Raising

Welcome To Family Ministries

I welcome you to our Family Ministries page. We are very excited to have a dedicated page to meet the needs of you – our singles, our married couples, and the entire family in general.

We have made several features available for you on this page, including the family ministries blog, upcoming events, photo gallery, video clips, and a contact tab. I encourage you to use the contact tab to let me know what your needs are or just to say hello. This contact is monitored daily, and I will be happy to hear from you.

Today, I am launching the family ministries blog – The Parental Advice. Enjoy this article and let me know what you think. Continue to check this page weekly for more articles and information.

Let us continue to build strong families for the advancement of the work until the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Parenting Tip

As we are all aware, children are like sponges. They soak up information and knowledge instantaneously. Children are great learning machines. They learn more through doing (experience) than they do from their parents shouting and talking. Ellen G. White reminds us in the book “Child Guidance,” that the home is the first school. So, we ought to be most careful about our activities, dispositions and attitudes in the environment in which they live.

Teach them the importance of “family time” by creating unique traditions that they enjoy doing. Go to the beach or the park where they can run and play freely under your parental supervision. Include in their list of activities visiting the grandparents on a regular basis. They will learn so much from the grandparents that will last a lifetime.

Children remember and appreciate time with people they love: family members, school and church friends. It is a great thing to always be friends with your children’s friends. So create activities and events where you can meet them in a relaxing and friendly environment.

Laura Buddenber, a renown child expert, says, “When advertising and popular culture tell kids that life is all about ‘getting stuff,” teach your kids to love people and use things, instead of the other way around.”

Leadership Today

Many folks wonder why I am called, “Pastor Paul”. This reference is the brain child of an elder in my early ministry. You see, in the then Bahamas Conference, there were three Scavellas, my father, my uncle and I. On my employment as an intern, the elder quipped, “There is only ONE Pastor Scavella, so we will call your uncle Pastor Hugh and you Pastor Paul.” That marked the beginning of what eventually became the norm for both young and old. Today, though there is only one employed Pastor Scavella but for many I will always remain Pastor Paul.

The ministerial depart will share with you each week as God provides the wisdom and strength to assist with encouraging, and building ministry in our conference. There will be times when I will share from sources other than myself concepts and ideas which I deem helpful to me and thus to others. This week the author identified below supplies us with seven deadly Siphons, or reasons why folk lose enthusiasm for ministry. How is your energy level today?

In my own experience there have been times when there would have seem to be no energy left. That’s when I cry out to God and he always here’s my cry.

Proverbs 3:5 says in all thy ways acknowledge him an he shall direct thy path. He will also renew your strength. How is your enthusiasm today Pastor Leader, member?

I hope the following note will be helpful:

Loss of spiritual passion seems to be the inevitable result of:

1. Words without action. We are tempted to think that saying something actualizes it. We have a momentary feeling of spirituality when we talk about wanting to pray more or "have more time in the Word."

2. Busyness without purpose. Ministry produces activities, programs, conversations. If our choices of time-use are not disciplined by call and purpose, our energies become like a lazy, shallow river.

3. Calendars without the Sabbath. A datebook filled with appointments but absent of significant hours (days) of quiet and reflection—written in first—is an abomination (an old and harsh word) to the God of the Bible, who said, "Six days you shall labor … the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God."

4. Relationships without mutual nourishment. Pastors tend to be acquainted with too many people but know too few people. The spiritual masters have told us for centuries that without soul-friends, we won't gain spiritual momentum.

5. Pastoral personality without self-examination. Too much ministry is built on unresolved anger, unhealthy needs for approval, and the instinct to control. Failing to explore our soul for unholiness ultimately takes its toll.

6. Natural giftedness without spiritual power. A pastor can go a considerable distance in ministry with catchy words, people skills, political savvy, and a facility for organizational dynamics. But kingdom work demands qualities that only a filled-up soul can offer.

7. An enormous theology without an adequate spirituality. A pastor cannot represent a view of reality that includes Creation, evil, reconciliation and conversion, sacrificial service, and eternity—a mind-boggling expanse of conviction—and have a spiritual-exercise regimen that is pea-size in contrast. A great theology demands a great spirituality.

—Gordon MacDonald


Outdoor Sabbath Inspires & Revives

Outdoor Sabbath Photo

Living Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church first outdoor Sabbath was truly “inspiring, refreshing, and reviving,” according to many who attended. Under the theme, “Communing and Fellowshipping with God through Nature,” the Living Faith Church spent the entire Sabbath day at the Bahamas Youth Camp, Gladstone Road, Nassau, on Sabbath, November 10, 2012. It was a dress-down Sabbath when members left the four walls of the traditional church setting, and clad in casual attire, spent time in nature closer to God and to each other.

It was truly a time for spiritual renewal, fellowship, and fun. Under partly cloudy skies, with a pinch of sunlight now and then, the temperature remained comfortably cool (75 to 80 degrees) the entire day. The members’ responses were remarkably encouraging. This is how some expressed their feelings about the day:

“We need to do this again and again.”
“This has been the best thing Living Faith has ever done.”
“This has revived my spirit.”
“This was a wonderful, refreshing Sabbath.”

Pastor Keith A. Albury, Publishing director of the South Bahamas Conference, conducted the morning devotion. Using Jesus’ miracle of turning the water into wine, he reminded the congregation about the place of miracles in the believer’s life. Pauline McBean coordinated the Sabbath School from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. Stephen McBean, first elder, led an invigorating and provocative adult lesson discussion. The Youth and Children’s Sabbath Schools were held in the cafeteria and chapel, respectively. It was gratifying to see the enthusiastic response of the youth and children.

The church pastor, Barrington H. Brennen, led divine worship which began at 11:45 a.m. The entire family of believers got together under a tent 30 feet by 60 feet long. Chairs, arranged in a semicircle, allowed for great participation and involvement. At a special time during the divine worship, the Pastor asked the congregants to move from under the tent in groups of twos or threes and spend five minutes in nature praying and observing their surroundings. When they returned, many came with a piece of plant, shrub, or object and shared the Biblical principle associated with the object. Perhaps the best part of worship was the spirit-filled singing Tamika Roberts, Hubert Williams, Bridgette Barrett, and Janice Gibson led the congregation.

After a sumptuous lunch and a resting period, the adults enjoyed a nature walk while the children participated in a special meeting in the chapel. After the walk, Pastor Kenny Deveaux, the Family Ministries Director, led out in a vibrant, interactive discussion on communication and its various components.

Then, it was time to end the Sabbath with a short vesper brought by the pastor. Everyone joined hands in a circle to sing “Side by Side We Stand” and vesper ended with prayer. For the next three hours, the more than 200 participants joined around the small camp fire to roast corns, veggie hot dogs, and marshmallows and eat watermelon. It was certainly a joy to see everyone jostling to get his/her corn roasted.

After a long day, the crowd fizzled away and the night ended just before 9 p.m. We praise God for the untiring work of Barbara Dorsett, Vesta Williams, Ruth Johnson, Novelette Duncombe, and the many others who assisted in cooking, serving, and cleaning up. Let’s have more outdoor Sabbaths!

Article By: Barrington Brennen

Revival & Reformation Coordinator for SBC

Friends let me invite you to reflect on this thought from the Spirit of prophecy for this Sabbath:

As we meditate upon the perfection of the Saviour, we shall desire to be wholly transformed and renewed in the image of His purity. There will be a hungering and thirsting of soul to become like Him whom we adore. The more our thoughts are upon Christ, the more we shall speak of Him to others and represent Him to the world.

Our efforts will be doubled in this regard if we accept the admonition.

Have a blessed weekend.


South Bahamas Conference Historic Sabbath School Congress

The South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held its first Sabbath School Congress, November 2 - 4, 2012, at the Hillview S.D.A. Church. Pastor Samuel Telemaque, Sabbath School Director of the InterAmerican Division, officiated and held several training sessions as he emphasized/demonstrated the importance of the Sabbath School to the church. He further demonstrated a concept called the vertical and the horizontal view, which in essence states that when the spiritual (vertical) relationship is established and nurtured, then the social aspect (horizontal) will be fostered.

This event was coordinated by the Sabbath School Department of the S.B.C. Conference, under the leadership of Pastor Wilfred Adderley, Sabbath School Director, and assisted by Mrs. Patrice Williams-Gordon, Special Events Coordinator for the South Bahamas Conference. Assistance was also given by the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists.

Approximately 154 persons received Awards for 10 – 39, and 40 - 50+ years of Service to the Sabbath School.. An additional 300 persons, including members from the family islands, will receive their awards in the near future. Six churches received the Innovation Award and 10 persons received outstanding leadership awards.

On Sabbath morning under the theme: Model Sabbath School: Millennium-year One, a very innovative and informative dramatization highlighted the concept that Jesus had returned and taken His Church to heaven for the 1,000 years.

At the Divine Service Pastor Telemaque’s presentation on “The Word” taken from Isaiah 6:1-8 emphasized the power of God, displayed through His word and vision to Isaiah, which demonstrated the vertical relationship that changed Isaiah from an unclean man to a holy vessel. God then desired to use Isaiah to carry His message of warning and love to the Nation of Israel; this is the horizontal aspect of relationship.

The service ended with an appeal for recommitment to God and Sabbath School Evangelism. The theme song for the congress, “Transformed by His Power” was composed by Mrs. Audrey Dean-Wright.

--Media Department

New Church/District Formed

After four weeks of powerful preaching under the giant tents on the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center, the Countdown To The End Gospel Campaign climaxed with 437 individuals surrendering their lives to Jesus in baptism.

This saw the merging of these new members with the new Trinity Sabbath School to commence the process of organizing a new church.

Pastor T. Basil Sturrup and Ministerial Intern D. Richard Henderson were assigned to be in charged of this new congregation.

In spite of the passing of Hurricane Sandy, the new members rallied together to transform the Gymnasium on the campus of the Old Bahamas Academy into a beautiful house of praise, and on Sabbath October 27, 2012 more than 500 persons showed up to participate in a lively worship experience.

The Gambier Seventh-day Adventist church and the new group of believers will form a new district.

By Administration

Hurricane Sandy

Many of the islands of the Bahamas were speared the wrath of hurricane Sandy as it passes through the archipelago.

Shortly after the hurricane passed, the President of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Paul Scavella, made contact with Pastors from the Family Islands to ascertain the degree of damage that the members and churches sustained. Fortunately, there was no loss of life and damages to members' homes and church properties were minimal.

Captain Russell of NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) said that he would be working to assess the damage done to the Bahamas throughout the weekend.

It started as a Category 2 hurricane but then became a Category 1 toppling light posts, flooding roads and tearing off tree branches as it charged through Cat Island and Eleuthera.

Yesterday lunchtime, Capt Russell said: “What we are experiencing now in most of the islands is that a number of them have downed power lines which have resulted in the loss of some line communications.

“And many of them are experiencing quite a bit of flooding. As of Saturday through Monday, we hope to get teams from all the government agencies into the islands that have been seriously impacted to start their assessments to see how we can render some assistance,” he said.

Mr Russell said Nassau’s harbour was scheduled to reopen today for cruise shops once some minor repairs are completed.

“I had a walkabout with the Commander of the Port - Patrick McNeil, there are some slight concerns. A number of the large fenders have been dislodged from their jetties and he is in contact with the Ministry of Public Works and Urban Development to see how they can restore those fenders as quickly as possible so they can open the harbour.”

Storm drain and road clearance were priorities for the Ministry of Public Works, said acting chief engineer Bradley King.

“As you know, one of our responsibilities is that roads are clear and as much as practical, storm drainage takes place. Road crews are out and about as we speak.”

He said a lot of sand washed up onto the roads near Saunders Beach and Sandyport and a large hole developed in West Bay Street near The Caves.

Police will be temporarily closing parts of the road for repairs and other clearance.

Lynden Pindling International Airport re-opened yesterday afternoon. Assessment flights will visit the Family Islands to get a clearer look at what exactly happened.

The storm seemed to have inflicted the greatest damage on Cat Island, which took a direct hit, and Exuma, where there were reports of downed trees, power lines and damage to homes.

“I hope that’s it for the year,” said Veronica Marshall, a 73-year-old hotel owner in Great Exuma. “I thought we would be going into the night, but around 3 o’clock it all died down. I was very happy about that.”

On Long Island, farmers lost most of their crops and several roofs were torn off. The island was without power yesterday morning and many residents did not have access to fresh water.

Power was out on Acklins Island yesterday and most roads there were flooded, while in Ragged Island the school was flooded.

Docks on the western side of Great Inagua were destroyed and the roof of a government building was partially ripped off.

Speaking yesterday, Jennifer Savoie, a New Orleans native who lives in Eleuthera, said that her fiance’s resort, The Cove in Eleuthera, was spared major damage but that power was out.

“We know the protocol and how to prepare,” she said. “It’s in our blood. We were hit pretty hard though.”

By DANA SMITH Tribune Staff Reporter

He Bounced Like a Deer and Hearts Responded

His voice slightly seasoned with huskiness and his feet bouncing like a deer, the energetic and passionate, Pastor Shiann O’Connor, thrilled and inspired hundreds each night for four weeks at the “Count Down to the End Gospel Campaign” under the big tents in Nassau by the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center. The meetings began on Saturday night, September 22 and ended on Saturday afternoon, October 20, 2012.

It has been a long time believers and curious listeners heard the gospel so simple and clear. With his gifts of teaching and exposing the hidden truths, each night Pastor O’Connor, with the use of scripture and contemporary illustrations, explained the Biblical teaching in ways that even a child could understand. It was thrilling to see the faces of those in the pews, with their eyes fixed on the screen to read the passages from the Bible, then fixed on the on the stage, as Pastor O’Connor panned up and down like a passionate, caring deer, eager to share and protect. “He is so inspiring” Sally, a curious visitor said who stopped by one night and kept on coming.

Pastor O’Connor is a creative and theologically astute preacher. Perhaps the sermons that will long linger in the minds of the listeners will be those on the 2300 day prophecy and the judgment. How would we be able to forget his step-by-step explanations and graphic illustrations? The use of the white board (magnified on the giant screen for easy viewing) to calculate the prophetic dates was most appreciative. Even a little child was able to understand.

Many will not forget Friday nights when the audience came in great numbers to hear topics on family and relationships—homosexuality, sex, and marriage. Each topic was sandwiched with a spiritual message of salvation. Laughter and enthusiastic “Amens” garnished with hand raising and clapping, the listeners will be forever blessed by the informative presentations.

Each night of the meeting Pastor O’Connor connected to the audience first by welcoming the visitors, giving of DVDs of the previous night’s sermon, and also school, backpacks for students. What a blessing! Although the Bible texts were projected on the giant screen during the sermons, it was wonderful to see the hundreds of visitors and church members bringing their Bibles, and taking notes. When the appeals were made, scores would move forward to the altar. Even those who just stood during the appeal, you could see in their faces the somber contemplation as they sang with the others the appeal song.

We praise God for 434 persons who got baptized during this series. This makes it the largest number persons baptized in any single campaign in The Bahamas and the largest campaign for Pastor O’Connor.

With crowds up to more than two thousand on Sabbaths and down to twelve hundred each week night, some even sitting in their cars trucks around he tent, we know that everyone received a blessing. We will long remember Pastor O’Connor, a native of Jamaica residing in Cayman Islands and serving as the president of the Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. It certainly was a “Count Down to the End Gospel Series” when he bounced like a deer and hundreds responded.
Contributed by, Pastor Barrington Brennen