July 25, 2023

Church Pays Respects to Deceased Adventist Centenarian in The Bahamas

Elizabeth Fountain Moses died on June 22 at 104.

Michelle Green, Henry R. Moncur III, and Inter-American Division News
Master Guide leaders and church leaders salute the late Elizabeth Moses during part two of the memorial service at the Western Cemetery in Nassau, The Bahamas, on July 16. [Photo: John Garcia/IAD]

Seventh-day Adventists bid farewell to one of their oldest members during a memorial service at the Johnson Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nassau, The Bahamas, on July 16.

Elizabeth Fountain Moses, a former worker of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Bahamas and the oldest living member in the Adventist Church in the Atlantic Caribbean region, died on June 22. Affectionately known as “Sister Betty,” she was among those celebrated in The Bahamas for becoming centenarians in their lifetime. She was 104.

“Her long journey of faith in Christ as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church here in The Bahamas has made her a legend,” Peter Kerr, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU), said. Kerr shared that Moses was one of his favorite people and a very precious treasure to the Adventist Church. “During her 104-year lifetime, she proved to be a lady of noble and honorable character, a humble, gracious, and purposeful individual, and a spiritual giant,” Kerr said. “We will always miss her; but we thank God that hers was a life well lived to the fullest.”

When Leonard Johnson, executive secretary of the Inter-American Division (IAD), was president of the then Bahamas Conference, Moses was invited to serve as a receptionist at the new office headquarters. She retired from there in 2008 at the age of 89. In reflecting on Moses, Johnson fondly remembered her service as being truly representative of Christ. “She brought a sense of order and professionalism, sprinkled with Christian poise and charm,” he said.

In 2022, Elizabeth Moses was honored by the Inter-American Division for being one of the centenarians in The Bahamas during the IAD’s centennial anniversary celebrations. She was known and respected by both church and civic leaders and was visited and honored by two Governor Generals of The Bahamas.

Moses was the eldest of three children born to William and Olive Antonio. Her grandfather, William Charles Antonio, was the first Bahamian to accept the Seventh-day Adventist beliefs in The Bahamas. According to Moses, her grandfather, then a Sunday School teacher in Zion Baptist Church, began his studies with a colporteur named Charles Parmele, using two books — Bible Readings for the Home and The Desire of Ages — written by Seventh-day Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White. “My grandfather read these books, and Parmele, on subsequent visits, would answer his questions,” she said during an interview for national television. “He eventually found out that the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist church was correct and was baptized.”

After her father and mother were baptized, the family home became the meeting place for Sabbath School studies. Moses and her family also began worshiping at the Shirley Street Seventh-day Adventist Church, the first Adventist church in The Bahamas. “When Phil and I were little, daddy had a carriage come every Sabbath morning and picked mommy and the two of us up, and then we went to pick up our grandmother, and then we clip-clopped in the horse and carriage to Shirley Street,” Moses shared during an interview in 2019.

Moses was a product of Adventist education. She was one of the first students enrolled at Bahamas Academy. The academy is still providing K-12 education on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas.

In 1954, Moses was employed by The Bahamas Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, located at that time on Shirley Street. She worked in the Book and Bible House, now known as the Adventist Book and Nutrition Center (ABNC).

Moses followed in her father’s footsteps by serving her Adventist community. William W. Antonio became a part-time Bible worker in the country and was also among the first Bahamians to serve on the executive committee of The Bahamas Mission.

She served as Sabbath School teacher, sang in the church choir, led the Missionary Volunteer Society (now Adventist Youth Society), and was unit leader of the Pathfinder Club, a Sabbath School superintendent, deaconess, church treasurer, and church clerk. An avid lover of young people, Moses continued her service as an active Master Guide in Adventist Youth Ministries.

Moses often used her time after retirement to visit and call fellow church members in the hospital or at home to encourage them and offer inspirational words of comfort and wisdom. She was the mother of an only child named Ian Antonio and was married to Alfred Moses, both of whom died before her.

There are more than 27,000 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 92 churches and congregations in the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission, which is headquartered in Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas. The Atlantic Caribbean Union is composed of the Cayman Islands Conference, the North Bahamas Conference, the South Bahamas Conference, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Conference. The union operates four primary and secondary schools, two radio stations, and two television stations. In addition, Northern Caribbean University, which is in Mandeville, Jamaica, is jointly owned and operated by ATCU and the Jamaica Union Conference.

John Garcia contributed to this report.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.