Florence Hill SDA Church Rededicated after 105 years
Written by: Elder Phillip Castell, Director Communications, Public Affiars & Religious Liberty | Friday, October 4, 2019
The Florence Hill SDA Church celebrated their 105th anniversary with a rededication service under the theme ‘Building on a legacy of Faith & Service’ which saw church members, pastors and people from the community come together to celebrate the goodness of God in the life of the church.
Pastor of the Florence Hill Church, Brian Shaw, was more than delighted to be the one at the helm for this historic occasion but was careful to recognize the work and efforts of his predecessors who had paved the way to make this day possible.
“None of us was here one hundred and five years ago but we are a part of history. We can look back and see what God has done for us, and we can look forward to the future for what God will do for us when he comes,” Shaw said at the start of the service which began outside at the main door of the sanctuary in the late afternoon of September 28, 2019.
Church members filed into the sanctuary after the ribbon to the main door was cut by president of East Jamaica Conference, pastor Eric Nathan and Jamaica Union Conference Youth Ministries director pastor Dane Fletcher who was the JAMU representative and main speaker at the service.
In his message to the church, Pastor Fletcher congratulated the church for their sacrifice and work to bring the church to where it is today. He outlined a number of ills that is evident in our world today but disclosed that his main concern was not with the religious persecution taking place around the world or with the emerging trends in gender identity or even with the challenges being faced by families.
“My concern is not that the world is worldly, because the world will always be worldly but my concern is that the church is not churchly enough, for truly we cannot stop the world from being the world but we can help the church to be a better church” Fletcher said.
The JAMU Youth Ministries Director went on to warn the members “not to become comfortable” as they enlarge their territory because we have a work to do to be the lighthouse on the hill and the lighthouse should not be the building but the light should shine forth through the lives of every member of this church.
Using the language of the day that all could understand, Fletcher put it to the members that the church has a particular role to play which if it is not doing then it would be best to close the doors.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church is bigger than progress. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is God’s conduit that is being used to help people irrespective of the color of their shirt, whether it be green or orange. If this church does not preach that there is salvation full and free in Jesus alone, might as well we close the doors.”
Fletcher ended in a positive note by saying that by the grace of God this church will continue to blow the trumpet and give it a certain sound.
Elder Glasford Gordon of the Florence Hill SDA Church gave a brief history of the church which revealed that the church began through the efforts of Peter Nooks who was born in the Florence Hill community in 1869.
According to Gordon, on September 27, 1914, the foundations of the Florence Hill SDA Church was laid and it became the first Seventh-day
Adventist Church in west rural St. Andrew. Gordon said Nooks worked tirelessly to share his new found faith and over time secured the assistance of family and community members who assisted him with building the church.
The church was renovated and looked inviting for worship with its newly installed windows and freshly varnished doors. The communication room was relocated to a more strategic location upstairs at the front of the church while the newly constructed church hall which is estimated to be able to hold one hundred persons, was officially opened for the first time in the church’s 105 year history.
Members from sister churches participated in the service by turning on lights, the fans, opening windows and doors, opening the stairways, opening the church hall and opening the baptistery. The pulpit was opened by Pastor Eric Nathan, president, EJC.
Rev. Audrey Knott of the Methodist Church attended the service and brought greetings on behalf of her church family while councilor of the Lawrence Tavern Division, Mr. John Myles congratulated church for the impact it was making in the community and encouraged the members to continue doing the work they had started.