St. Croix, US Virgin Islands | NCC Staff / IAD News Staff

Representing the face of compassion to communities enveloped by fear and uncertainty, the Agape Adventist Church on St. Thomas, and the Cruz Bay Adventist Church on St. John, lead a series of ministry initiatives to help individuals cope during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meeting the needs of the community is not optional for the Adventist Church, said Annette Small, community services director for the Cruz Bay Adventist Church in St. John.  “While many churches have gone to online services for safety purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic, that isn’t stopping us from continuing to serve the communities in a variety of ways.”

Small, who has been at the forefront of the church’s embrace of the homeless community for years, said that 181 bags of groceries went to 40 families during last month’s food pantry initiative.  “With the help of our church and in collaboration with a business entity, we were able to impact 106 persons,” said Small.

The Cruz Bay SDA Church’s ministry serves hot meals, two to three times per week, at the church and delivers food to individuals across the island, she added. The ministry also provides showers, free clothing and a food pantry for needy families.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a homeless person as someone who lives in the streets or a shelter, or regularly sleeps in quarters without plumbing, electricity, or refrigeration, stated Small. “Using this definition, many upright and productive residents of the island could be classified as homeless since they live in shacks, or houses under construction, or boats without amenities.”

In the Agape Adventist Church in St. Thomas, Community Services prepared nutritious meals for the elderly, the disabled and families with young children.  A tally of the lives touched revealed that the church delivered 157 meals, 72 pieces of literature and telephone assistance for families to connect with loved ones.

“What an opportunity to show that we care,” said Berthiel Flemming, a member of the Community Services team.  “Members came together in a spirit of care and showed loved love to their community.”

Pastor Danny Philip, who leads the two congregations, stated, “They are determined and dedicated at what they are doing.  Because of their consistency, they have now won the confidence of the community who now supports them in ministering to community needs.”

This article was originally published on the Trans-European Division’s news site