Serving the North Bahama Islands
ABACO, GRAND BAHAMA, BIMINI & BERRY ISLANDS
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Reflections on Pastor Silas N. McKinney
As I sit to write this week, I would like to reflect on the life of Pastor Silas N. McKinney. Pastor McKinney served as the first Bahamian pastor of the Bahamas Mission of Seventh-day Adventist as well as the first Bahamian President of the Mission. A visionary leader, it was under his leadership that the mission became a conference. In time, Pastor McKinney went on to serve as the first Bahamian President of the former West Indies Union (which comprised the territories of the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands and Jamaica).
When one looks at the life of Pastor McKinney you see an individual who was a trailblazer. His passing has left a void in the life of our church and our country. We have lost a great man who was not only concerned about nation building but also about building the kingdom of God.
As I take time to reflect, I could not help but realize that if it were not for Pastor McKinney, I would not be where I am today. All of us, as ministers, today, must realize that it was his struggles and those of others in the earlier days that paved the way for us to be here today. Without his labours, we would not enjoy the benefits that we experience today. In fact, the North Bahamas Conference would probably not even exist.
Pastor McKinney and Sister Ruth meant a lot to Grand Bahama. In the early 1980s, he served as the pastor for the Freeport, West End and Eight Mike Rock churches. It was during this time that Grand Bahama Academy came into existence and Sister McKinney served as the principal.
I vividly recall the first sermon I ever preached even before entering ministry. It was at the Centerville Church, and we were having Youth Day. Pastor McKinney who was Union President at that time was visiting the area and showed up to worship that day. The custom at that time was to always give he pulpit to the highest-ranking pastor who is in the house. I'll never forget his words to us when the offer was made. He simply said let the young people go ahead. I'll sit and support them. When you preach in front of a Union President that can be intimidating. But his comments to me on my sermon at the end helped to encourage me to pursue what God was calling me to do.
Today our hearts are heavy but thankful. Many persons in the North Bahamas share a deep bond with Pastor McKinney. That lost will be felt in our territory. So this week for our prayer focus, I invite us to keep Sister Ruth McKinney and the family in prayer. But I further ask and challenge us to pray that the evangelistic spirit of Pastor McKinney will capture the hearts of all our members in this territory, and in memory of his legacy, we will go out and give our best efforts to finishing the work. Let us commit to not allow his labours to be in vain, but let us commit to work just like he did during his tenure in the North Bahamas as we move forward.
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