HISTORY was created on Tuesday morning when the St.Lucia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists launched its Ministry of hospitality department’s “Ushers For Christ Official Handbook” at its headquarters in L’anse Road.
The special event was attended by Pastor Lucius Philip, President Vanessa Julien, Treasure – Rosemary Desir, and other members of the SDA Assembly.
The 15 page handbook is a first of its kind in the entire Caribbean and is expected to guide new Ushers who were invested into the ministry having completed the professional certification programme held in June and July, 2015.
The trained ushers will serve the church at its worship services, official events and functions by offering the warmth of greeting, seating and helping visitors and members. They are also expected to do evangelistic work in the community together with other departments of the assembly.
Speaking at the launch president Julien said, “This handbook is finally here and is ready to be unveiled. It just dawned on me that it has particularly special commemorative significance as this week we are celebrating Nobel Laureate Week, a time in St. Lucia when we celebrate our two icons who have made St. Lucia very proud. But this handbook is by no means a work by literary greatness; it is simply a handbook to guide ushers and interested persons in this beautiful ministry of ushering”.
She continued: “Over the past few years, when participating in ushering activities on behalf of the church, I have been frequently asked about this ministry of hospitality, its history and its way of operation, including its spiritual role and why so many church members participate. The answers to these questions are all in this handbook. The St. Lucian Mission of Seventh Day Adventist Ushers for Christ Ministry Official Handbook is an attempt by the SDA Island Executive to share this ministry with not only our ushers but with other denominations in this country”.
Julien added, “The SDA Ushers for Christ was officially established by Sister Denise Holder, a very dedicated member of this church who saw the need for this ministry and who steadfastly pursued its formation by organizing and training persons with the necessary skills to carry out their duties’.
The president said, “Here in St Lucia the vision continues through the island council and every year a new batch of ushers are professionally trained by the pastors in areas of Spirituality, Effective Communication, Conflict Resolution and Church Protocol. Other members of the community train us – NEMO and the St. Lucia Fire Service, train us in areas of disaster preparedness. We also have government officials who train us in government protocol. This handbook is really a culmination of the training we have received over the years from all of the pastors and all of the entities. And the facilitators do not charge us for this training, they do it freely. They give of their time”.
Julien said the book is a very easy read. By reviewing the history of the ministry, it helps the readers further understand why the need exists for ushers. “We patterned the ministry after Jesus Christ – who is our first helper. He was the first helper when he took Adam and Eve into the Garden of Eden; he created this beautiful home for them, and he ushered them around and he welcomed them. Jesus Christ takes care of our every need, he is our first helper. So thus, the roles and responsibilities are explained in this handbook”.
Julien’s final words were when she read from a section of this handbook: “We are not islands unto ourselves. We are social beings. We thrive in healthy relationships. Every David needs a Jonathan. If we do not give significant relationships, especially our families, the attention they need, our performance and enthusiasm will suffer. It is also important to form new relationships in our new experiences, whether at church, at work, or in our casual encounters, keeping contact with the people in your life. Christ didn’t intend for us to be loners. However, we are to weed out unhealthy relationships. Our company influences our lives. Balance requires responsible, social, interrelationships”.
Pastor Philip said, the ushers were the face of the church’s various services and conventions ”Whenever someone walks into our church the first person they will meet in most cases will be an usher. We want to commend the council for the thorough training that our ushers undertake every year. They help us with protocol when we welcome dignitaries, so they are well trained”.