Church leaders, educators and students look on at the photos and wall display of the first museum and resource center on the history of the Adventist Church in Haiti and abroad during the inaugural ceremony on Aug. 15, 2023, 118 years after the Adventist Church was organized in the country on Aug. 15, 1905. [Photo: Asser Dayan Augustin]

August 23, 2023 | Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Haiti | Jean Carmy Felixon and Inter-American Division News

What began at a class on the History of Adventism at the Adventist University of Haiti (UNAH) wound up with dozens of theology students researching for months and putting together artifacts, photos, drawings, and documents, for the first museum of Adventism in Haiti. The initiative also includes a small center for studies of Adventist co-founder Ellen G. White at the Michel Toussaint Auditorium on campus.

The project’s launch was unveiled on campus as the Adventist Church in Haiti is celebrating its 118th anniversary.  Dozens of church leaders, educators and students gathered on Aug. 15, 2023, for the opening ceremony.

Pastor Edgar Étienne, dean of the School of Theology at the Adventist University of Haiti speaks on the museum and resource center inaugurated on Aug. 15, 2023. [Photo: Asser Dayan Augustin]

“The museum is there to remind us that we have a history, that we have a mission, that we have a name that carries a particular message,” said Pastor Edgar Étienne, dean of the School of Theology at UNAH.  The museum is just at the beginning stage of a rich Adventist history in the country, he said.  The enthusiasm and dedication of his theology students resulted in a room full of important historical resources that will enlighten and inspire those who visit, added Étienne.

“Every church field in Haiti and every institution will have space to place their historical relics and documents to make the museum more inclusive and one that truly reflects Adventism in Haiti,” explained Étienne.

Among the artifacts in the museum is a brick from the oldest house on the campus of the Adventist University. [Photo: Asser Dayan Augustin]

Pastor Pierre Caporal, president of the Haiti Union, praised the work of students and so many who were part of making the museum and the center possible. “Having a museum is a turning point in the history of research on the Adventist church movement, both in Haiti and abroad,” said Caporal. “It will also allow young people in the country to better know one of the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers whom God used to illuminate the path for His people, His Church, through the journey on earth until he enters the heavenly Canaan.”

The dream would be to have a building for the museum and the center alone, said Caporal. “Perhaps this small beginning is laying a foundation that can turn into a more permanent site where others in Haiti and around the world can visit,” he added. “The museum will represent more than just a collection of historical objects, it will represent all our history, all our faith, and our commitment to proclaiming the Three Angels’ messages with more determination, with more fervor and love.”

President of the Adventist Church in Haiti Pastor Pierre Caporal speaks during a special ceremony during the opening of the museum and resource center at the Mitchel Toissaint Auditorium on the university campus. [Photo: Asser Dayan Augustin]

According to official records, the Adventist Church began on Aug. 15, 1905, when a Sunday school was transformed into a Seventh-day Adventist School.

The museum hall was named Emmanuel Clément Benoit in honor of Pastor Emmanuel Benoit for his 50 years in the pastoral ministry in Haiti. Benoit is currently the president of the South Haiti Mission. He published a book on Adventism in Haiti in 2005.

“The idea of the museum is very significant, every time we pass in front of this door, it should remind us that men and women worked to pass on this church to us. In turn, we must work to expand the church,” said Pastor Benoit.

Pastor Emmanuel Clément Benoit (left) smiles as he is honored by naming the museum after his name for his 50 years in pastoral ministry as  Watland Francois, vice president of academic affairs at the Adventist University of Haiti looks on. [Photo: Asser Dayan Augustin]

Idony Patrice Augustin, a third-year theology student who, like other students in his class, donated a painting for the museum. “I was excited for this day to come, to see my name on a picture frame that will help, through the museum, to teach the story of the church to young Haitians,” said Augustin.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Haiti has more than 500,400 members worshiping in 1,330 churches and congregations organized in five conferences and missions. The church operates a university, a hospital, a clinic, and dozens of primary and secondary schools.

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