The national colors were generously arrayed in the outfits of the worshippers and the décor of the sanctuary as the Washington Gardens and Balcombe Drive SDA church convened on Sabbath August 6, 2022. The occasion was extra special as it marked a Special Day of Prayer for the nation which marked its 60th anniversary of Independence and the Installation of the 25th Pastor who will be the church’s chief shepherd for the next four years.
Cadences of national songs, the Anthem and pledge punctuated the service as the church reflected on the nation’s milestone.
Pastor Anthony Baugh, EJC Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Director, main role for the day was to introduce Pastor Owen Thomas and wife, Sis Elena Thomas and preside over their installation service. The installation service included a litany of charges and pledges which included the EJC Official, Pastor Thomas, his wife and the Congregation. Elders, Dale Flynn and Joseph Dixon from the Washington and Balcombe Drive churches also participated and affirmed the support of themselves and the general membership of both churches. They also indicated what was on their hearts for the church at this time in the nation’s history.
Not only did Pastor Owen Thomas give a response to the various charges, but he also affirmed his commitment to servant leadership in his role of pastor and gave a heart stirring rendition of the popular song, “Jerusalem”. He also gave his inaugural message from God in which he challenged the church to be the salt of the earth and not to lose its savor lest we be trodden underfoot.
His express desire for the church was for its members to develop a disciplined relationship with Christ, nurtured through prayer and diligent study of the word which would ultimately result in stronger individual personal ministry. He reiterated that each member is called not for repose but to be a diligent worker in the cause of God; a position which is echoed in the vision and mission statement of the Washington Gardens church and indeed the great commission.
Echoing through the message was Pastor Thomas’ dedication to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, fostered no doubt by his strong history in Literature Evangelism. Supported by his wife in rendering the appeal song, Pastor invited the sweet will of God to fold us closer, till we are wholly lost in Him. On that sober note the first message from the newly installed Pastor ended. We look forward to his leadership and the deeper and stronger commitment to the Lord as church and leadership work together to usher in the soon return of the Saviour.