Bethany Through the Years
On Sabbath afternoon April 5, 1997 the Bethany SDA Church Nassau Bahamas was formed by charter members and newly baptized members following the Conference wide crusade.
The following Sabbath April 12, 1997 we began our journey as a body of believers in the Bahamas Academy Gym. Pastor Michael A. Smith was assigned as Pastor, assisted by two ministerial interns, Daniel Major and Andrew Burrows. Three elders Pedro Rolle (head), Vernal Rolle and Raymond Antonio.
The name “Bethany” was chosen by the members and ratified by the Conference Committee and Pastor Daniel Major gave the church its slogan, “The Church where Resurrection Takes Place.”
We later moved to the Bahamas Academy auditorium which provided a psychological and physical boost to the members, as it was a little cooler than the Gym. It also gave us more classrooms for the various Sabbath School Classes.
We began to see the church membership increase as more persons came and joined in the fellowship.
Intern Pastor Danny Major was assigned to be the resident Pastor in Exuma. He was replaced with another young intern Pastor Roger Moncur. Pastor Smith would also be reassigned, and would be replaced by Pastor Theodore Basil Sturrup
Pastor Sturrup would subsequently be reassigned, and Pastor Keith D. Albury, Conference President, would serve as Interim Pastor. This assignment would, in retrospect, prove to be pivotal to Bethany’s development.
Bethany was now four years old, and felt the need to make deliberate steps towards purchasing its own property. Given that, at the outset, the majority of members were unemployed, the accumulation of a modest bank account seemed almost impossible, but “with God, all things are possible if we only believe.” And we believed.
By faith we began our search for the site to build our new home. We checked several sites and non were ideal until the Lord provided an opportunity. This property was located on a hill bounded on the north by Westridge Estates, and on the south by John F. Kennedy Drive. A viewing was quickly arranged; the site seemed ideal: hillside, in a quiet neighbourhood.
But there were several major factors that needed to be considered:
- it was at least seven miles from Bahamas Academy
- a number of members did not have transportation
- five acres was much more than was needed for a church
- the price tag was way out of our budget
Pastor Albury a visionary leader, along with his Pastoral Team met with the members and after much prayer and discussions we were convinced that by faith this was possible and a decision was made to acquire the property. The Conference Committee was presented with our proposal, it was approved.
As we prayed, God opened many doors and on Sunday morning, May 28th, 2004, a brief thanksgiving service and ground-breaking was held. The subdivision process, predicted to be completed within a few months, would take several years.
Under the guidance of Bro. Cecil Cartwright the men and women of Bethany worked hard, day and night to see the dream become a reality. And determined not to spend another year at Bahamas Academy, in January 2005 the members of Bethany worshipped in its new home even though it was not completed.
Pastor Leo Rolle would be assigned to Bethany replacing Pastor Sturrup and would be instrumental in leading the church through some difficult periods in the subdivision development, and making great strides toward completion.
He would be followed by ministerial intern, Pastor Keith Anson Albury. Despite his minimal experience, his wisdom would also be timely in the subdivision development. During his tenure, the roadway would be paved.
Pastor Albury was succeeded by Pastor, Kent Price. Under his leadership, we have seen the initial subdivision, and subsequently the final subdivision approval being obtained. Without a doubt, the singular event that has given us most joy was the final payment of our loan. March 23, 2009 will long be remembered as a watershed moment. Hitherto hath the Lord brought us, and to Him we give all glory and honour and praise.
Yes, we remember and recall the contributions – financial, physical and spiritual – of our members and supporters, and to them all we say thanks. But if it were not for the Lord being on our side, we would not have made it.
We have been climbing up the rough side of the mountain, but with God’s help, we have made it thus far. Indeed, we can proclaim that we have come this far by faith!
Our current Pastor is Pastor Andrew Burrows.