Agape Seventh-day Church celebrates 20th anniversary

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The festivities are soon to be under way as Agape Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrates its 20th anniversary. Ten days of services and celebrations begins May 7 and culminates May 16 at the anniversary banquet.

The Agape church was founded in 1990 when the Lay Activities Department of the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church organized simultaneous lay crusades on St. Thomas, one of which was held in a canvas tent at the Lima Property in Bovoni. Following the successful crusade, some of the church members involved continued to minister to communities in Estates Bovoni and Nadir and Bolongo Bay. A committee was organized to establish a name for the group and Agape — God’s love — was chosen. The group officially became the Agape Company on May 5, 1990.

On Dec. 31, 1990, the group pitched the canvas tent again, and an Old Years-New Year Service was held on the Lima property. In the following year, the group found a permanent home when the Bolongo Bay property became available for purchase. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in December 1991.

In July 1991, evangelist Roosevelt Daniel held another lay crusade in Bovoni, baptizing 225 individuals, 110 of which decided to join the Agape Company. As membership grew, so did the need for a larger tent, and in 1992, work began on the Civic Center. In October 1996, the Agape Company became the Agape Seventh-day Adventist Church, joining the worldwide sisterhood of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Over the years, Agape has been home to several pastors and assistant pastors, including John Josiah, Silton Brown, Ammaram Williams, Alex Abednego, Jerry Languedoc and Earl Esdaille Jr., as well as current pastor, Trent Berg, who has served at the church since October 2009.

Berg, who has been in the ministry since 1991, calls Agape a “special place” as it is the place he met his now wife, church member Delrose.

Before serving at Agape, Berg was pastor at the Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church on Raphune Hill, Agape’s sister church, as well as on St. Croix, where he also completed his internship following a reassignment from Agape in 1991. In addition to serving as church pastor, he is an administrator at the St. Thomas-
St. John Seventh-day Adventist School, a position he has been in for 11 years since his return from
St. Croix.

Presently, the Agape congregation has about 300 members, whom Berg leads in four services a week. The main service and sabbath school are held on Saturday mornings. The community outreach programs take place at 6:30 p.m. Sundays, and at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesdays, a prayer meeting is held during which the congregation prays for the community, the country and its leaders and church members.

“It’s really a special time,” says Berg. “We also pray for those who have sent in a request.”

Younger church members also have their own unique groups with their own projects and meeting times. The Adventist Youth Society, a group for ages 16 to 35, meets at 5 p.m. Saturdays, as do the Eager Beavers, the group for the youngest members of the congregation, ages 2 to 5. For ages 5 to 9, there is the Adventurers Club, and for ages 9 to 15, the Pathfinders.

Each group has its own curriculum and uniform, and participates in its own group activities and
community service activities.

Each year, the Pathfinders get together with hundreds of other Pathfinders from all over the USVI and BVI for a weekend retreat. They also have their own drum corps and kayak teams that compete in the annual Boy Scouts Regatta and a kayak-a-thon from St. Thomas to St. John under DPNR supervision.

Musically, Agape is also home to four choirs — the senior, young adult, youth and children’s choirs — that participate in weekly services and other church events.

The various church groups participate in community outreach activities such as coastal cleanups and work with the non-profit Family Resource Center. They donate, prepare and distribute food and clothing to the poor and vagrant in the Nadir area and Emancipation Garden. Recently, Agape also joined forces with other Seventh-day Adventist churches on St. Croix and St. Thomas and raised more than $120,000 in aid for Haiti.

On the homefront, Agape has exciting plans in the works to expand.

“It is our intention to erect a church sanctuary, hopefully by the end of the year. We just turned in plans to the architect and we’re very excited about it,” Berg said.

Anniversary celebrations will include services led by the church’s former pastors and other guest presenters. On the evening of May 8, Agape will host a night of fun and recreation at the “Ole-Time Social,” with games such as red light, green light; the three ring game; and Rachel and Jacob, accompanied by old local food favorites such as pumpkin soup, tarts and more.

“It’s going to be really special — we’re going to be showing all the kids what we used to do years ago for fun, before there was television,” said Berg.

The celebration’s grand finale will take place on the evening of May 16 at the Agape 20th anniversary banquet, a grand event that will take place in a tent under the stars in Donoe as a throwback to how it all got started.

“We are just excited about coming to this juncture — we acknowledge how God has blessed us over the years and we are excited to share this anniversary celebration with our friends in the community,” said Berg.

— Contact reporter Genevieve Ryan at 774-8772 ext. 340 or e-mail

20th anniversary events schedule

• 6:15 p.m. May 7 — Holy Convocation & Consecration service with Pastor John Josiah, former pastor of Agape

• 11 a.m. May 8 — Cherishing the Faith that Works by Love with Pastor Roosevelt Daniel, evangelist of the Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventist

• 5 p.m. May 8 — Love Feast - Reflections of the Love of Jesus with Sis. Norma Burke and Sis. Delrose Berg

• 7 p.m. May 8 — “Ole-Time Social” Children’s Night Out

• 7:15 p.m. May 9 — Reflections of Our Past and Consecration for Future Service with Pastor Trent Berg, current district pastor

• 7:15 p.m. May 10 — Faith, Adoration and Praise with Pastor Ammaram Williams, former pastor of Agape

• 7:15 p.m. May 11 — Homecoming - Fellowship & Love with Pastor Earl Esdaille, former pastor of Agape

• 7:15 p.m. May 12 — Revival, Thanksgiving and Joy with Pastor Alex Abednego, former pastor of Agape

• 6:15 p.m. May 14 — Reformation & Commitment with Pastor Gerry Languedoc, former pastor of Agape

• 11 a.m. May 15 — Celebrating the Faith that Works by Love with Pastor Silton Browne, president of the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

• 5 p.m May 16 — An Evening of “Ole Time” Fun & Frolick - (Faith, Love and Good Works) 20th anniversary banquet to be held on the grounds across from Home Depot in Donoe.

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