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Rollington Town Church | Current Membership:

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“History is a dialogue between the past and the present...It has been said that where you stand determines what you see.  This is especially true with history.”
From: Taking Sides
Clashing Views On Controversial Issues In World 
Civilizations Volume 1 by Joseph R. Mitchell et al

If at this time we stand as members of the Rollington Town Seventh-day Adventist Church, then it may well be that for some of us, the only story worth telling is that of the church through the years 1931-2006.
    
The first Seventh-day Adventist church to be organized in Jamaica is today called the North Street Seventh-day Adventist Temple.  As Adventism grew, worshippers could no longer be comfortably accommodated at the Temple and so a tabernacle was erected at 1 Langston Road, the premises of the late Sister Mary Braithwaite.  This was in the early 1920s when Langston  Road was a mere track.  Later, in the same decade, the tabernacle was moved to the corner of Langston and Waterloo Roads, this being the property of the late Sister Hill (the mother of the late Wilton Hill, former Member of Parliament).  The tabernacle was again relocated to Jacques Road on the property of the late Sister Harrison.
   
 It was decided to erect a permanent place of worship and so property was purchased at Langston Road for this purpose.  A tent was pitched on the purchased land, which had an abundant supply of sand and gravel from the riverbed left by the river which flowed by in former years.  God provided this material, as well as the voluntary service of faithful members for the building of His church.  We mention a few, the late Sister Eva Morgan, Church Clerk, 1931-1967, her adopted son Bro Rudolph Gayle, the late Sister Elsie Gregory, Church Organist until 1986, the late Brothers Rudolph Gayle and Stanford.  Still alive are Sisters Winnie Edwards, organist and choir member and Sister Ivy Hall, then a North Street member (both reside in the USA).  The latter sister raised church building funds by selling ice cream.  Her mother’s uncle, Wellington Burkley, a contractor and builder, assisted by way of lumber donation and labour.  In 1931, the Rollington Town Seventh-day Adventist Church stood proudly at 20 1/4 Langston Road and has the distinction of being the fourth oldest organized  Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, the third in the Corporate Area.  Sister Hyacinth Marlowe (USA) must have been very proud to be the first person baptized in the new church.
    
The purpose of the church is to make disciples of all men.  In response to this purpose, the church was filled to its capacity over the years 1931 to the 1960s, resulting in the divisions of the membership and the planting/organization of the following Seventh-day Adventist Churches:  Bull Bay and Harbour View (1970s); Johnson Town (1982); King’s Chapel (1985).  
    
Building deterioration, the effects of hurricane Gilbert (1988), the need for suitable accommodation for our children and additional space for our growing membership resulted in a major physical restoration and remodeling programme, as well as the purchase of two adjacent properties.

The following is a more detailed summary:
A split level to the rear of the church.  The lower level is the administrative block to include at this point in time the Pastor’s vestry, a conference room, a room shared by the music and  deacons and deaconesses departments and the treasury office.  The upper is the children’s department which is also used as a dining area.
A remodeled ceiling, the work of Brothers William Evering, Kenneth Phillips and Robert Brown.  The addition of chandeliers and additional fluorescent lights.
A remodeled baptistery with the new reminder REVERENCE MY SANCTUARY (done by Kaydean Murray-Hutton) above the beam over the baptismal pool, replacing the former HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.

The addition of a balcony and associated remodeling of the front including the stained glass windows.
The re-painting of the church on Saturday nights into Sunday morning from September 7, 1993 until its completion approximately one month later.
A rededication of the church building took place on October 27, 1996.  The motivation for this rebuilding/remodeling thrust was provided by Pastor Devon Osbourne.
New benches (2000)
Purchase of  20  1/2  Langston Road  (2001), where the clinic and Basic School are operated.
Purchase of 20 Langston Road (2003).
    
The seating capacity of the church increased from 400 to approximately 500 and the number of members on record stands at 1523.  The first recorded membership was 39.
    
Medical work and education, in the context of the church are the arms of evangelism.  Two departments, Health and Community Services were twinned and given new meaning by Sister Cynthia Douglas.  With her team, a monthly clinic was organized and operated, not only by some of the nurses in the church, but by a doctor.  Dr Andrew Greene presently serves the clinic.  As the clinic serves the church and community, many persons have been added to the membership of the church through this outreach ministry.            

The operating of a Basic School, which had been an idea for years, became a realization on September 9, 2002 as a result of the combined effort of successive Education Directors, Sisters Ivy Bennett (deceased), Erma Hutton and Deloris Sicard.
   
 Youth Sabbath for all of Jamaica, began at our church, under the youth leadership of Hugh Maynard-Reid.  On June 10, 1969 (second Sabbath), he led the Missionary Volunteer Department (name change to Adventist Youth in 1978) and the church into the first such celebration in our country.  In 1979, Youth Sabbath was formally accepted as a programme by East Jamaica Conference and later by other conferences.  The Conference then advised that the celebration be held on third Sabbaths.  The first broadcast of the Anniversary Service on RJR was in 1987 under the Adventist Youth leadership of Sonia Donaldson, with the arrangements being worked on by the then Communications Director Sis Sharon Beckford.  Since that year, the broadcast is an annual feature.
    
It was in the 1978s and 1980s that a new group of leaders emerged.  Some influential leaders fled the shores of Jamaica, believing it to be under the threat of communism.  The young leaders stood bravely and took over the reigns of leadership.  From this group comes our First Elder, Garth Wright.  Many from the group later migrated, mainly to the USA, and other worship in other SDA churches.  Some, you may remember: Devon & Dorett Osbourne, Yvonne Gregory, Winston Mundy, McDonald & Llewellyn Maloney, Fontley Corrodus, Esther Nelson, Matthias and Ilene Patrick, Ilene Shaw, George Shaw, Rodrick Shaw, Claudette English (nee Henry), Margaret Brown (nee Douglas), Anthony and Marlene Smith, Herman & Grace Bromfield, Justin & Grace Beckford, Lloyd & Janet Denham, Marie Rolle (nee Church), Desmond Moulton, Janet Housen, James & Sharon Beckford, Anthony & Marcia Williams.
    
Those of us who are still here “praise and extol and honour the King of heaven” that we are still privileged to play a part in the saving of souls: Erma Hutton, Fred & Ivy Blackwood, Minnette Gaynor, Kaye Wright, Sonia Donaldson, Edris Pinnock, Cynthia Douglas, Sybert & Jean Chang, William & Herma Evering.  

We pay tribute to the fathers and mothers in Israel who remained and guided us: Claris Brown, (Elder at Johnson town), Edith Maynard-Reid, Beryl Mamby, the late George & Ivy Bennett, Hazel Maynard-Henry, Kenneth Destowe, Joseph Henriques.  May those who emerged since the 1990s find us faithful.

The 1970s and the 1980s  were definitely the decades of drama, but since the 1990s music has come to the fore.  Could this have been the natural out come of the addition of Music Director to the list of offices since 1990?  The Youth choir could be described as the premier choir of the 1980s and the 1990s, but now it has lined up beside it the Church Choir (formerly Senior choir) , the Women’s Choir and Men’s Chorale.  By consensus, our premier choir is the Junior Choir (formerly Children’s Choir).  Members from these five choir form the Combined Church Choir.  Mention must therefore be made of Eban Hutton (present Music director), who had redefined the singing of the Church Choir and serves as musician for all the named choirs and Marcia Brown, Junior Choir Director and our first lady of song, who has produced from the Junior Choir, sounds we do not expect to hear, that continue to thrill and bless the hearers.  No mention of music in the church would be complete without the name of Donald (Bobby) Brown, with his ‘never grow old’ voice that only mellowed with the passing of time.  There is also Josiah Maynard-Reid, who has been singing before he could read.  These two members have never said no when asked to sing even when ‘hands’ were laid on them suddenly.

 We live in the post modern era.  While the church continues its traditional methods of evangelism, it is of necessity that we use ‘new strategies’ (Jesus used them long ago) to preach and teach the everlasting gospel, that is, tell the story of Jesus, so that the one to whom we tell it can understand.  From where we stand as church members, in the year 2006, it is the only story worth telling, the one that gives us the moral right to be the Seventh-day Adventist church at our new address: 20-20 1/2 Langston Road.

Only what is done for Christ will last.

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