New this month:
“Changes are Opportunities, not Obstacles”
Blessed & Holy Greetings to Our Much-Appreciated Pastors and Workers!
At the beginning of 2020, how would you have responded if someone told you, “In less than three months, a global pandemic will infect millions and kill tens of thousands, the borders of nations will be closed, countless churches will not be able to meet publicly, people will be confined to their homes, the global economy will hit the pause button, and most colleges and schools will close and move to online teaching?”
Perhaps you would have said, “Are you kidding me? You are crazy! That would never happen to us; not in this country.” Not in this world! Yet here we are. As pastors and leaders, we are still trying to make sense of this moment and discern how best to navigate it.
The world is changing rapidly. Initiatives and solutions that were fresh only a few weeks ago now ring stale in the minds of leaders, searching for ideas to keep pace in the changing context. While we understood the gravity of COVID-19, few could have anticipated—and indeed many still do not fully appreciate—the depth of change we are living through.
Allow me the opportunity to highlight some relevant issues and specific actions within the NETD during period March 2020- August 2020. The financial highlights and our significant contributions, distribution, and assessment exercises will be covered by the District Administrator and Missions Director, respectively.
“It Came to Pass, not to Stay”
The phrase “And it came to pass,” is found in the King James Bible an incredible 396 times! This phrase is even better when someone adds a twist to it. “The Bible said, ‘And It Came to Pass’. It didn’t say ‘And It Came to Stay’.” To my mind, this thought speaks directly into our present scenario. This idea of “It Came to Pass, not to Stay” is a great way to deal with what we might call our “troubles”. It was never meant to stay in our experience. It came to pass so that we may learn something. It came to pass so that we may expand and grow. It came to pass so that we could become aware of our subconscious beliefs and change them. It came to pass because God watches over His Word to perform it.
Whenever we go through difficult times, we can take this new attitude toward it. ‘It came to pass, not to stay.’ “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18.) Oh! What glorious opportunities to make the Invisible God Known!
“I cannot change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust the sails to always reach my destination.” — Jimmy Dean
The Christian life is not a playground but a battlefield.The enemy of our soul is ruthless and relentless. As Kingdom soldiers stationed in the North East Trinidad District we must be militant as we seek to go forward in fulfilling the will of our chief commander. Satan will not roll out a red carpet for us, giving us a grand welcome to tear his kingdom down. We must be prepared to fight. In this war there is no truce or negotiating with our enemies, “Kill or be Killed”. Take no prisoners must be the mentality of the soldier of light.
The pandemic has sounded a clarion call in our district to pick up our weapons and fight the good fight of faith. This is not a time for spiritual passivity. We must fight and endure hardship as good soldiers. Let’s put on the whole armor of God so that we will be able to stand and withstand in this perilous time. The Lord of Hosts is with us. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10) victory belongs to Jesus.
Rev. Ricky McClatchie
Surviving the Lockdown
Elijah, the prophet, self-imposed a lockdown after his life was threatened by the deadly ‘Jezebel’ virus. He fled to the wilderness and chose a juniper tree to quarantine under, desiring to die rather than survive. He had angelic health care providers who strengthened and fortified him; thus, he was empowered to embark on his new assignment. Needless to say, he survived the ‘virus.’
Our country is now faced with this deadly COVID-19 virus. As a District we complied with the government-imposed lockdown and implemented measures to ensure that we all survive, being confident that God is still in control.
Initially, the office staff worked two at a time until the end of March. For the period April to June the office remained closed and on specific days members of staff came out to facilitate payments from the churches. Pastors also had the option of depositing payments directly to our account at RBC Royal Bank. We extend thanks to our pastors for their cooperation.
Following is an indication of the churches giving for the period January to August 2020.
No. of Churches that paid Tithes
Percentage of funds received in January
We sought to manage our resources efficiently and effectively to ensure that the business of the District ran as smoothly as possible. Our District Executive sacrificially forfeited their stipends for the four months to ensure the other operational expenses were taken care of. We were careful to maintain payments of our tithes both to the General Office and the National Council, and our monthly contributions to WIST.
Commendation is in order for our Presiding Bishop and other members of the district executive who laboured assiduously to ensure that our district continued to do excellently in terms of ministering to the necessities of its workers.
As we forge ahead through this ‘storm’ may we continue to be strong and courageous knowing that God is with us and He will see us through. The storm will be over one day, and we will be able to keep on working ‘till He returns.’
Rev. Jennifer Eustace
Jack of All Trades – A Phenomenal Woman
ADJUSTING TO THE NEW NORMAL
A lot has been said in recent times about the need to “adjust to the new normal”. Wikipedia describes “normal as individual behavior that conforms to the most common behavior in society”. Jim Kozubek author notes in psychology and psychiatry normal, really means average or typical, how everyone is supposed to think and feel. Dictionary .com says “adjust means to change (something) so that it fits, corresponds, or conforms”. Therefore, when we are told “adjust to the new normal” we are being advised to conform to behaviour that is most common in society. As Christians, the bible does not instruct us to be “normal” nor to conform to behaviour that is common in society. 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV) says “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people,….”; Rom 12:2 (NIV) says Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The fate of normality in the world is very much under threat. The American Psychiatric Association in revising its diagnostic and statistical manual is constantly changing what is “normal”. Do we then, as Christians constantly change our behaviour to conform to society.
Our guide is the bible, and scripture instructs us to obey our leaders and governments. In treating with the Covid 19 pandemic, we are to obey rules and laws once they do not conflict with scripture. Our language as Christians must be in conformity with scripture; as a result, this constant and repeated chant “adjust to the new normal” must be harnessed. If we allow ourselves to imbibe that language, then conformity becomes our “go-to mantra”. Normal we are NOT, Adjust to Normal we do not. Whatever happens to us in life is designed to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. That is His purpose; to seek a people for Himself that they might glorify Him in their lives, He says, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 32:28)
Dr Edghill L. Massiah BSc, MBA, DBA
The Abnormal New Normal – COVID Style
Responding to The Cry
NETD overview of things done due to COVID-19 from March 2020
TASK FORCE: The NETD like any other District made adjustment due to the pandemic. Bishop Raymond Boca commissioned a nine person Task Force, ten days after the government COVID-19 restrictions was announced. The Task Force sought to develop effective and constant communication to execute measures that would help our pastors and credential workers.
NETD OFFICE BUILDING: This was sanitised, cleaned and sprayed. Air condition units were serviced, two sinks were installed, drapes were cleaned, carpark and surroundings were maintained.
DEPENDENT ASSEMBLIES: Regular contact was maintained to ensure continuation of ministry. Media platforms were used for services. Solutions were adopted for the collection of tithes and offerings. Pastor’s monthly earnings were kept intact. Food hampers were distributed to meet urgent needs to members and outreach to the communities where necessary.
AUTONOMOUS ASSEMBLIES: Brotherly love was clearly demonstrated by these assemblies. The support and assistance given when requests were made to help was very evident.
GOVERNMENT: The Ministry of Health requested the use of our church building to use as quarantine centres in the event of an escalation of COVID-19. Health officials conducted site visits to some buildings to determine suitability. However, though some buildings met the requirements the need to use the buildings did not arise. Site visits were also done by Health officials to ensure health protocols were implemented in our facilities. The government also released funds through PAWITT which was equally disbursed to Districts for the purchase of hampers for community distribution.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY: All the assemblies utilized the various media platforms available and suitable to conduct church gatherings. Sunday services, prayer, Sunday school, seminars, departments meetings and conferences etc.
SCHOOL EVANGELISM: NETD took a decision to maintain the four full time school evangelists with the hope that school would re-open.
SURVEY: A survey was done to determine in some areas the impact of COVID-19 in our District.
Rev. Brian Selkridge
Welcome our new Pastor.
What A Year!
The year 2020 was going to be ‘the year’, the year when dreams and visions will be realized. The year when the prophecy that was told to me at nine years old was about to be realized. I was installed as the pastor of the Las Lomas Pentecostal Church and my family and I were looking forward to it. We were not only welcomed by the congregation but also a world-wide pandemic. It was a challenging time for us as a congregation. However, the opportunities to advance God’s Kingdom were numerous and we took advantage of them. It is well fitting of me to thank God for being God, my Bishop, Dr. Boca and the NETD executives for their continued support, the LLPC family, an exceptional group of people and the gorgeous Genelle, my wife, and the amazing Amelia, my daughter, for their love. I end by saying “what a year!” a year that taught me to trust and obey the King. Forever Grateful, Blessings!
Opportunities from Adversity
Who would have foretold the world would have been experiencing a pandemic in the year 2020, no one could have ever predicted this, only God holds our future and so He knows all things, the seen and unseen. The name Coronavirus/COVID 19 has become a household name over the globe. The North East Trinidad District had to quickly rethink how we communicated with our membership and do business with our churches.
As office staff, we had to encourage the pastors to use the online banking as the only option to make their tithes contributions since the District office was closed. Also, we had to create a WhatsApp chat with the credential workers so that the District Bishop can update the membership on any changes in the fellowship. The staff was taking turns working every other day so we would not risk affecting each other until we finally had to shut down the office due to the guidelines handed down by the Government. I had experienced two quarantine due to circumstances beyond my control which would have taken me away from the office for some time. I even missed a special service the North East Trinidad District hosted where I was going to be honoured.
This pandemic has changed our lives forever. We will not be going back to how it was before, at least not anytime soon. While the pandemic may be seen in a negative light, many can attest that the experience has brought us closer to God. Persons who would not normally attend Bible study and prayer meeting are now doing so virtually. We have learnt to use technology at will and manage our time in events and services in a way we never thought was possible. A Pentecostal worship service for an hour was impossible in the past. We even became creative in how we share the gospel. Yes! There are some positives!
I encourage us, as we ride the waves of this pandemic, let us remember that God promises never to leave or forsake us because He is true to His words. Maybe our normal is not something we should desire to go back to. Let us create our new normal that is more focused on doing God’s will and getting rid of the excess weight that keeps us back.
Mrs. Sheryl Ann Reid
North East Trinidad District
My COVID-19 Experience!
“A whirlwind of discoveries”, that’s the best way I can describe my Covid 19 experience from March 2020 to date. I am Rev. Arden Scott, pastor of the Calvary Pentecostal Church in Toco and I am pleased to give you a brief insight into my journey.
In the months prior to March I experienced a burning and urgent desire to create a Facebook page and a WhatsApp group for our church. With the co-operation of the membership we established the WhatsApp page by March 14th and the Facebook page by March 17th. So by the time our Prime Minister announced that same week that church gatherings would be suspended with immediate effect, I had already prepared the vehicles to keep our ministry alive. Am I a prophet? No, but there and then I discovered the SOVEREIGNITY of our God!
Nevertheless my discoveries were far from over and my journey had just begun. In the months following I discovered the whole new world of social media and the possibilities for ministry that it offered. My first Facebook sermon got 970 views – the largest audience I ever ministered to. I soon discovered that the young people in church and my teenage children had become my tutors and the fact that a pastor cannot be effective in this new paradigm without a supply of generation Z’s and Alpha’s in his congregation. When the social needs began to mount our local surfing icon (from Balandra vlg.) gave me a steady supply of hampers labelled “From the Syrian and Lebanese Community” – then I discovered that the 1% are also givers. One of our larger churches also called me and offered financial assistance and I was touched to know that there is such HEART within NETD District. Also, now that we are allowed to assemble once again, I am discovering that many church members prefer to view mid-week services from home rather than attend church. But lastly and on a more lighter note, one of my most shocking discoveries occurred when I visited and scrolled through the comments of other Facebook ministries and saw some of my own members most present and actively participating – dot, dot, dot … to be continued (laughing emoji).
Rev. Arden J. Scott
NET District Executive: 2020 – 2022
Back row, left to right: Rev. Emerson Boyce, Member-at-Large; Rev. Dr. Melch Pope, Assistant Presiding Bishop; Rev. Brian Selkridge, Missions Director; Rev. Ricky McClatchie, Member-at-Large. Front row, left to right: Rev. Jennifer Eustace, District Administrator; Rev. Dr. Raymond Boca, Presiding Bishop; Rev. Jenny-Lyn Warner, Director of Church Ministries.