Submitted by Ms. Hannifah Jordan
As we approached our first in-person annual conference since the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, the joy of gathering for great worship and teaching filled the air. The Guyana-Suriname Annual Conference began the evening of March 16, 2023. We were celebrating our 108th year as an annual conference, and the conference was expected to be memorable in every way.
Following the organization of the conference, Holy Communion was served by Bishop W. Darin Moore and the Elders. Presiding Elder Dr. John D. Givens was the preacher for the Holy Communion Service and brought a dynamic message titled “Don’t Put a Limitation on God” from Genesis 1: 26-28. We were reminded that we were created with no limitation on what we can do or become.
Bishop W. Darin Moore gave his Episcopal Address on Friday, March 17, 2023. He spoke from the scripture Ephesians 1:15-23. The Congregation was reminded the church must be incarnational and interconnected, offer hope for the hurting and offer love for the lonely.
Election of a ministerial delegate and a lay delegate to the 2024 General Conference was held on March 17, 2023. Presiding Elder Orette Darrell and Sis Hazel Lambert were elected to represent the Guyana Suriname Annual Conference.
The preacher for the Missionary Service, Rev. Dr. Tonya M. Pass, Pastor of Brighton Rock A.M.E Zion Church, Portsmouth VA, Virginia Conference, delivered a powerful message titled “Walking in the Promises of God” from Deuteronomy 28: 9-14. We informed that God does not want us to forget about his word and his promises, the Lord will make a way for us, and we are joint heirs with Christ.
Our Missionary Supervisor, Mrs. Devieta Moore was honoured by the missionaries during the Missionary Service by a spoken word acrostic of her name DEVIETA meaning “Devoted, Elegant, Virtuous, Intelligent, Eloquent, Talented, Amazing”. A gift of a gold cricket bracelet with the name Devieta engraved was presented to our Missionary Supervisor for her compassion and leadership for the last four years.
On Saturday, March 18, 2023 all churches travelled to the mining Town of Linden to participate in the Christian Education program. This program was moderated by the Conference Director, Ms Andrea Jordan where the children and youths blessed the Conference with their gifts in song, dance and poetry. Rev. Joshua M. Walker, Pastor of Trinity A.M.E Zion Church, Pittsburg PA, Allegheny Conference was the preacher at the Christian Education Service. He brought the message titled “Tell Your Story” from the gospel of Luke 9:28-36. Rev. Walker informed us that sometimes God must take us by ourselves and he separates us to show us something extraordinary. Therefore, we must wake up from our spiritual sleep and listen to Jesus.
Following the Christian Education program was the dedication service of the new church edifice at Amelia’s Ward, Linden. The new building was dedicated as a family enrichment Life Center and named the “Bishop W. Darin and Devieta Moore Community Family Life
Center”. The ground floor of the building will be used for
the Stars of Zion Playgroup and Daycare Center and the second floor will be used as a parsonage. The building was constructed by donations from faithful partners in ministry from throughout the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District. Bishop W. Darin Moore expressed thanks to the faithful partners and presented a plaque with the names of each contributing partner. He also acknowledged the outstanding efforts of both Presiding Elders Givens and Darrell along with Rev. Dorothy Patterson to complete the building project.
In attendance at the dedication was the Mayor of the Town of Linden, Mrs. Waneka Arrindell who brought greetings on behalf of her family and the Town of Linden. She expressed congratulations to the church and encouraged the teachers to transform lives by showing love to the children. She paid tribute in song by singing a verse of the famous song “I believe the children are our future”.
Reports on the stewardship for the past conference year were presented by the Presiding Elders, Dr. John D. Givens and Orette Darrell, Pastors, Field Worker, District Presidents of the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society, Conference Director, Christian Education Department, Delegates and special committees on State of the Church, State of the Country, Conference Board of Trustees, Holy Orders, Conference Studies etc.
Bishop W. Darin Moore brought the word for Sunday Worship on March 19, 2023. His message was titled “Don’t Give Up” taken from Psalm 30:1-5. He reminded us that God wants us to grow spiritually and be a witness to others. On the other hand, the devil will discourage us and use us to discourage ourselves and others. Therefore, the church is the place to be plugged in to get the spiritual power. He advised that God gives the test then gives the lesson. The test is designed to teach us that God is greater than anything we’re going through, that whatever we are going through has an expiration date, and what we are going through will teach us more about who God is.
On Sunday, March 19, 2023, Sis. Shivaughn Lachish, Sis. Deborah Cornelius-Todd, Sis Velma David and Bro. Brian Russell were ordained Deacons and Rev. Andrea Reman was ordained an Elder in the life of the church. With their ordinations as Deacons, Rev. Shivaughn Lachish, Rev. Deborah Cornelius-Todd, and Rev Velma David were given first-time pastoral appointments and Rev. Brian Russell appointed as Assistant Pastor to Rev. Patricia Williams. This was one of the largest ordinations done in the history of the Conference.
Acknowledging that there are some challenges in the annual conference as there are with many of our churches around the world, Bishop W. Darin Moore encouraged members to attend worship in person as often as possible and to be excited about Jesus. He cautioned that we are losing our young boys to gangs and the street. Therefore, churches must incorporate activities to get our boys involved and feel like they can participate in worship and related activities. He also encouraged officers holding multiple offices to identify someone to train so that new officers can be created who will share their talents and gifts with others.
Our conference was blessed with the presence of overseas visitors who travelled with Bishop W. Darin Moore and Missionary Supervisor, Mrs. Devieta Moore, namely Sis Shauna Wright, Rev. Dr. Tonya M. Pass, Pastor of Brighton Rock A.M.E Zion Church, Portsmouth VA, Virginia Conference, Rev. Joshua M. Walker, Pastor of Trinity A.M.E Zion Church, Pittsburg PA, Allegheny Conference and his wife, Mrs. Sunni Walker, Rev. Dorothy Patterson, Bro. RaMon Shelton and Presiding Elder, Dr. John D. Givens.
We give God praise and thanks for a wonderful and successful 108th Annual Conference. To God be the glory great things He has done!