An ICON celebrates 100 years of Love & Service in the Inner-City
Written by: Dr. Lorraine Vernal, Everett Green and Lenroy Stewart | Friday, August 2, 2019
Amidst the tension, violence and uncertainty which often characterises life in the inner-city compounded by the presence of the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) checkpoints in Denham Town, there is an unsung icon that celebrates over 100 years of service to the communities of the sometimes-infamous West Kingston.
Many organizations do not outlive their founders, however, the fact that the Regent Street Seventh-day Adventist Church has existed for over one hundred years is a testament to the providential care of Almighty God. She has changed leadership as well as membership, seen her structure evolve into the current edifice, weathered natural disasters and violence of every kind. This lighthouse has positively impacted the lives of countless individuals who have gone on to serve with distinction locally and internationally.
Significant milestones are to be celebrated therefore, the current leadership guided by Pastor Owen Thomas and Elder Michael Vernal decided to “pull out all the stops” to mark the centenary celebration guided by the theme “Celebrating the Journey: Thanking God for the past, pressing towards the future”. No doubt, all the members of the Regent Street SDA church echo the words of Pastor Thomas who shared “Indeed it is a privilege and honour to join with past and present colleague pastors, elders and members in this Centennial celebration as “Hitherto hath the Lord led us.” Let us continue to build on the sure and solid foundation laid by our forefathers with Jesus as our chief Cornerstone.”
The official launch took place at a banquet held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on August 26, 2018. This was well supported and included leaders from Jamaica Union as well as East Jamaica Conference and members from many of our churches even as far as St. Thomas. Proceeds were earmarked for church and community projects.
The citadel of love continues to be known for evangelism and education. Numerous evangelistic efforts have seen hundreds baptized into membership. For2019 the church has had two major evangelistic campaigns, the first done by children during May and a just recently concluded Wholistic health evangelism series by Pastor Owen Thomas. Praise God for those who accepted the call for the Kingdom of God.
The Regent Street Family has always acknowledged the importance of education so for over 40 years there has been an early childhood institution. They currently boast what is now a product sample for the Early Childhood Commission as the Regent Street Early Childhood Center is one of the few schools to have met the criteria for such institutions. This school was built by Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and presently serves as inspiration to many in the community.
It is the intention of the current church members to have the best building possible as the church has to be relevant in the community. Improvements came through partnership with the East Jamaica
Conference’s Conference Wide Development Committee. This has resulted in the construction of a brand-new Mothers’ room and Pastor’s vestry to the front of building. The tiering of the existing the balcony has increased the seating capacity and provides housing for the music/communication room.
Funds are needed for the expansion of outreach in the community. This has led to the branding of efforts as “Mission Possible Go Code: ENERGIZE”. This is based on the Gospel Commission found in Matthew 28: 19 & 20. The first event was the staging of a fundraising concert held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on July 7, 2019. The main singer was international gospel artiste Micah Stampley as well as Jamaican singers including Regent Street’s own Norman “Alex” Smith.
Homecoming Celebrations are scheduled for July 28 - August 4, 2019. The Opening Ceremony and week of events were declared open by Dr. Lorraine Vernal from the Jamaica Union Conference and the charge was delivered by Dr. Eric Nathan, President of the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The week will include a health seminar, Musical Fiesta, Jamaica Night, prayer and vesper services and Sabbath Celebration with Pastor Bancroft Barwise , Treasurer of the Jamaica Union Conference as the divine hour speaker. The week is expected to end with a trip to Bluefields Beach in Westmoreland on Sunday, August 4, 2019.
The Regent Street SDA Church family is made up of many persons who live in Denham Town and surrounding communities. The congregation is not about seeking accolades but rather seeking partnerships to aid with the continuation and expansion of its outreach and personal development programs. They are delighted to have members of the Regent Street Diaspora here for the celebration and all acknowledge that they have come this far by faith in God who continues to bless their efforts. As the Lighthouse celebrates love and service in West Kingston they solicit prayers and support.