Religion: ADVENTISTS’ SERVICE EMPHASISES IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH
The three established congregations of the Seventh-day Adventist Church – Mount Fortune, Jireh and Shemei and the two other groups (New Life Company and the Spanish Group) were at a special joint service on Saturday, September 4.
The event, at Mount Fortune Church, was a presentation on health, one of the important human needs in which the world-wide Church is deeply involved through its many health service education institutions and related teachings.
The guest speaker at the service, as well as at an after-church seminar, was Dr Lee Carl Whitaker MD, a Texas-born physician in St Thomas US Virgin Islands. He originally served with the Government there and is now Medical Director at the Veteran’s Clinic. He and his wife, Dr Cassandra Whitaker, own the Whitaker Medical Centre. Dr Carl Whitaker, a trained Seventh-day Adventist Pastor, also serves as the Director of Health Ministries at the St Croix-based North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
“God is equally concerned about our spiritual growth as our health, and for years that message seems to have been neglected across the world,” he told his listeners. “You just don’t hear much about health on the pulpit from the pastor, the most trusted voice in the church, telling you what you need to do to keep healthy as admonished by the Lord in the Biblical principles. That is one of the things that really made me gravitate towards realising that God is concerned about my health. I have always been concerned about my health before I became a real practising Christian… and it made me feel good and productive to practice healthy principles.”
He went on: “I even emphasise the fact that keeping your mind healthy is more important than keeping your body healthy. If you keep your mind healthy, and your body is broken, you can still be a commander of armies. For example, President Roosevelt used a wheelchair but was still the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest army in the world; and Christopher Reeve, Superman, broke his neck on a horse in an accident, but was still able to stand or sit before an audience and make passionate appeals for research to help us remedy accidents like that.”
Dr Whitaker noted that there were a number of illnesses which could be prevented if the necessary health habits were observed. “As someone has said, ‘genetics load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger,”’ he remarked, pointing to the fact that there were steps that persons could take to prevent certain illnesses.
He noted that with various forms of information and screening tools now available, it was possible to have early detection of diseases such as cancer or diabetes before it was too late. “We can take advantage of this,” he observed. “It is a matter of getting up and going to the doctor. If each one would reach one, each one would help to save each other’s lives.”
Dr Whitaker’s travel to Anguilla was part of a planned visit to a number of islands within the membership of the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Meanwhile, Pastor Trent Berg, the Resident SDA Minister in Anguilla, said he was glad to have had Dr Whitaker address the church members. “This was his first official visit to the island, even though he had visited back in February with other administrators of the Conference,” he stated. “Because of the expertise he brings to the table, we are now examining how we may be able to bring some of our health services to our community during 2015.”
Pastor Berg added: “One of the other things we are initiating is not only his participation, but also his wife’s participation, in the Marriage Club here on the island; and they will be returning to the island to participate in the kick-off of that. The Marriage Club is intended to invite couples, from around the island, to come and participate in a fun, but educational experience. That will take place early in 2015, and we are looking forward to the announcement.”