Two pastors, Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, and Aston Barnes, former treasurer of the then West Indies Union Conference, were among 206 individuals accorded national honors for 2018.
The appointments, which became effective on Jamaica’s Independence Day on August 6, 2018, were presented to them by His Excellency, the Governor-General of Jamaica, the Most Honorable Sir Patrick Allen, at King’s House on National Heroes Day in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 15, 2018.
Brown was awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander for outstanding contribution to religion, while Barnes received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer for his contribution to the ministerial fraternity, social development, welfare, and philanthropy in Jamaica.
“In accepting this award from the government of Jamaica, I do so with a sense of humility,” Brown said. “I am fully cognizant of the fact that this national recognition is just a reflection of the many lives that my service and ministry have touched through the opportunities given by the church to serve members and the wider society.”
Brown has served the church for more than 33 years in pastoral ministry. Over this period, he served in the Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) as district pastor and evangelist, youth ministries director, executive secretary, and president. He has been president of the Adventist Church in that region since 2010.
Brown has led the CJC in its transition from a reorganization in 2002, which, church records show, has led to the growth that has taken place in all areas of the Conference, including the development of its campsite in Camp Verley and the Willowdene Group of schools.
He also serves as Vice-Chair for the Bible Society of the West Indies, as a volunteer chaplain for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and as a Justice of the Peace for the parish of St. Catherine.
Pastor Aston Barnes has served the Adventist Church in various capacities for 65 years. He served as a teacher, auditor, stewardship director, and as treasurer of the then West Indies Union Conference (now Jamaica Union Conference).
Barnes conducted evangelistic campaigns and was ordained as a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in November 1984.
In 1989, after 15 years of design, negotiations, and requests for approval, Barnes was able to implement and manage his brainchild, the West Indies Union Conference Capital Development Fund. The Fund operates throughout the Union field and created an interest in such capital funds in other Unions in the Inter-American Division. The fund continues to provide means in the Jamaica Union for capital expansion and improvements at low interest rates for its churches and medical and educational institutions.
From his practical knowledge and a desire to bring about adequate financing for the Adventist Church’s mission, Barnes wrote the book Church Financing: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. The book offers solutions for financing education and health care in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and is marketed both locally and overseas.
In recognition of Barnes’s many contributions to the Church and its institutions, Northern Caribbean University bestowed on him an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree at its graduation ceremony in August 2000.
In November 2000, Barnes retired from active service but afterwards established United Trust Fund Limited, where he serves as the chief administrator.
More than 300,000 Seventh-day Adventists make up 738 congregations in Jamaica. The church operates educational and health institutions, including a university, eight high schools, 19 preparatory schools, several early-childhood centers, a hospital, and two clinics.