Known for tourism, the Caribbean is a chain of countries in the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea and its islands. The Caribbean also contains the Caribbean Baptist Women’s Union (CBWU), of which Karlene Edwards-Warrick is president.
The CBWU is one of the seven regions of the Baptist World Alliance Women and is led by Edwards-Warrick and a team of five volunteers.
The Caribbean doesn’t have a big problem with unemployment or primary education since about half of the population receive advanced education. The islands do have a lot of diversity.
“The Caribbean is a melting pot made up of people from all over the globe. In the Caribbean, there is a blend of African, Indian, European and in some cases, Asian influences,” Edwards-Warrick noted.
The biggest challenge in the Caribbean is dealing with natural disasters.
“Hurricanes and storms have grown worse in the past ten years,” Edwards-Warrick said. “Many islands in the past ten years were devastated by categories 4 and 5 hurricanes and many economies are still recovering.”
In spite of the challenges, the Caribbean people still celebrate through the Caribbean festivals centering around native music that includes steel drums, maracas and guitars, as well as by playing cricket.
However, the women of the Caribbean need a lot of support. One goal of the CBWU is to unite women older than 50 with the younger women in ministry and raise up leaders.
The CBWU has had a focus and intentionality on leadership development the past few years and has already seen growth in that area.
Edwards-Warrick personally became a leader at a young age.
“It was after the sudden and unexpected passing of my mother at [my] age of 18 years that God affirmed my calling to leadership and to assist others in identifying their gifts and to serve in the body of Christ. My passion is to see men and women fulfilling their God-given assignments. Toward this end I conduct leadership training and workshops.”
Ministry hasn’t been her only focus throughout her life though. Edwards-Warrick’s secular career has helped her do what God has called her to do for the CBWU.
“I was employed for three years with the government of Trinidad and Tobago and 32 years with a private steel giant in my country. The last nine years of my employ was spent in human resources, training and development. After the closure of the company in Trinidad and Tobago, God led me to begin my own consultancy in leadership and training and development.”
Edwards-Warrick is also a pastor’s wife, provides leadership in two other women’s ministries in her country, is involved in leadership at her church and is the mother of three adult children. She has been in ministry and leadership for more than 45 years.
Being installed as president of the CBWU at a virtual ceremony in July 2020 was a moment she says she’ll never forget. It was attended by women gathered from around the world.
Connection to international women is why she loves serving as CBWU president. She especially loves interacting with “dynamic leaders from around the world, all called by God, unique and gifted in their calling.”
Becoming president in 2020 meant that those early interactions were all virtual.
“However,” she added, “I give God praise that He provided a way through technology.”
The prayer needs of CBWU include:
- that younger women in the Caribbean will continue to hear God’s voice and answer the call to serve Him with their gifts and talents.
- for the Safe House Shelter Project to assist women who are abused and vulnerable.
- for the horticulture, cakes and pastry, chicken, pigs/goats and soap projects that assist unemployed mothers.
- that its leadership development will continue to bear fruit.
To find out more about CBWU, go to bwawomen.org and find this region in “Continental Unions” under the “About Us” tab.