August Town Honours its Oldest Active Members

Written by: O’Neil Harris | Thursday, May 31, 2018

On the evening of Saturday, April 21, 2018, the August Town Family Ministries Department spearheaded a special event for the two oldest active members of the church family, Mavis Barton, 89 and James Dixon, 84. The event was a simple thanksgiving exercise for the lives of the elderly and to give individuals an opportunity to express their love and admiration for these two senior souls.

This programme idea has been done in August Town before where the members seek to highlight the contributions of its elderly in an effort to ensure that they are able to hear and experience their praises in their living years. Owing to the advanced age of the two members and their very humble demeanour, it was felt necessary to highlight their contribution now and not wait for a future date. Also, the programme is intended to share aspects of the lives of the senior members so that the church can learn of their life experiences and be inspired by them.

Both Sis. Barton and Bro Dixon have served the church for decades and remain active in their service although their advancement in years has made them adopt a slower pace.

Mavis Barton was born in Kingston on February 12, 1929, and was an active Roman Catholic in her youth until she attended a crusade in Greenwich Farm in 1950 and heard Pastor Fletcher preach the Three Angels Message. She and her mother, Cassandra Barton, accepted the message and she has remained a committed Seventh-day Adventist for a blessed sixty-eight (68) years (so far).

From 1950 until the 1970's she worshipped at Greenwich Town but had her membership transferred to August Town when she moved to Hermitage, near August Town. She has remained with the August Town SDA Church ever since, serving in many capacities and building a steady reputation for being present at all street meetings and evangelistic efforts as well as all major EJC functions.

Bro Dixon was born on February 15, 1934, in Roehampton, St James, in an Adventist family where his father was an elder. As he grew up, he left the church and found many pleasures in the world but always remembered the truths he learned from his childhood. Eventually, after

a series of events, including being robbed and shot in a bar in 1973 in Jones Town, he eventually made his way back to the fold and attended the Regent Street Church for a number of years where he developed his skills as a singer on the choir and as a soloist. Eventually, he made August Town his home and with that, he became a member in the 1980s. Bro. Dixon’s trademark in August Town is his voice, and his signature piece is “I Come to the Garden Alone”.

Members of the church were invited to share their special memories of Bro Dixon and Sister Barton and thanked God for their lives and ministry. One by one the members stated their love and appreciation for the members and prayed for them many more happy years to come.

Hyacinth Francis, Women’s Ministry Director, highlighted Sis Barton’s consistent commitment to the church activities.

"She is always present at our Women’s Ministry meetings and willing to participate in the planned activities. She participated in a road march we had last year and was determined to complete it without complaining. She is aging actively and I admire her for that," said Francis.

Richard Samuels, Director of the Men’s Ministries also had positive commitments of Bro. Dixon.

“He is always a man I admire and it is quite heartening (to me) as a much younger man to know that at his age he is able to remain faithful to God and be fervent in his christian journey,” said Samuels.

In their reply to the many well wishes and prayers offered by the August Town brethren, Sis Barton thanked the church for many happy years and encouraged the members, especially the youth, to be faithful to the message as shared by the Adventist Church. Bro Dixon also added his words of gratitude to the church and encouraged the members to stay with the Advent Message and to let their light shine for Christ. He also thanked the church for being supportive of him through the years and being his family. At the prompting of one member he did a smooth soulful rendition of his signature song.

Sean Francis, the First Elder, offered a special closing prayer for Sis Barton and Bro Dixon thanking God for their long lives and sincere ministry over the decades. He also prayed for their continued health and that the two senior members will continue to receive the love and support of the wider church membership.

Shanna-Kay Edwards who experienced the whole activity stated,

“The programme was refreshing. I have never experienced anything like it before, as this kind of thing normally happens at funerals. It was awesome seeing them listen to how their lives impact the church family.

I could see they were pleased to be part of the body of Christ. Other churches should look into this and I hope our church does this more,” said Edwards.

Following many tributes, warm wishes and prayer the whole church continued in the celebrations by sharing a special treat of ice cream and cake.

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