Haitian pastors and lay leaders across the USA/Canada Region met in Brooklyn, New York, at New Jerusalem Church of the Nazarene from July 16 to 19 with a desire to be better equipped to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Given the decline in membership among Protestants, there was a sense of urgency at the conference to acknowledge this trend and develop strategy to share with greater effectiveness the reality that Christ is the Savior and King for all. The morning and evening sessions were geared to uplift, inspire, motivate, and educate attendees about the new realities Christians face and how they can be salt and light in the world.
The annual conference is sponsored by the denomination's USA/Canada Haitian Ministries. Special speakers Metro New York District Superintendent Art Alexander, Florida District Superintendent Emeritus David Nixon, and Southern Florida District Superintendent Brian Wilson reminded attendees of the core value as people of God and challenged participants to allow the Holy Spirit to use them to reach out to the world with the message of hope and love. The speakers also encouraged them to do whatever it takes to reach out and remain connected with next generation in order to retransmit their faith.
“In my first year as DS of the Southern Florida District, I was privileged to be invited to be part of the preaching team for the conference, along with my predecessor, Dr. David Nixon, and Dr. Art Alexander, DS of Metro New York," Wilson said. "It is amazing how God weaved together into a beautiful tapestry the messages and teachings prepared around the theme of "Equip to Proclaim." A highlight for me was the emphasis on holiness and the passing of the baton of church leadership to the next generation. The Haitian Nazarene church in the USA/Canada is being intentional in designing the life of the church in an inclusive fashion that allows for full participation by the younger generations, and this conference gave those generations tacit permission to lead the church into her future. Our worship this week in multiple languages, multiple music styles and worship elements, and platform presence by all age groups gave evidence of that commitment. The future of the church is bright among our Haitian congregations."
Haitian Ministries Facilitator Pascal Permis reminded each pastor and leader of Vision 2020, which includes planting 50 new churches and recruiting and developing competent, mission-minded, spirit-filled leaders with the purpose of making Christlike disciples in the nations.
Permis further stated his willingness to work with the USA/Canada Region's Multicultural Ministries Office, district superintendents, Haitian Ministries Strategic Readiness Team members, associations of pastors on various districts, French/Creole professors, English training centers, and pastors of local congregations and interested students in order to put into place intentional leadership development and training for French/Creole Haitian leaders in the U.S. and Canada. Permis also reported that many French/Creole books are available through Casa Nazarena de Publicaciones and on the Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library.
Gratitude was expressed to all that participated as speakers or presenters — Dumerzier Charles, Lionel Latouche, Rebecca Antoine, Alexander, Wilson, Nixon, Nazarene Missions International representative Carla Lovett, and Tammy Condon of the Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library.
Nixon expressed the importance to be leaders who are “unashamedly devoted to Jesus, who exude qualities of grace, peacefulness, joy, wisdom, encouragement, and unconditional love.”