From a Dancehall to a Place of Worship, Irish Town SDA Church finally established

Written by: Ruth-Ann Brown, Digital Media Coordinator, EJC | Photos: Xander | Thursday, May 3, 2018

After 31 years, the Irish Town Seventh-day Adventist Company was officially inducted into the East Jamaica Conference sisterhood of churches, during an organization service on Sabbath April 28, 2018.

The church which has now received full status, was voted by the Executive Committee of the conference, to be officially organized.

While greeting the brethren during the service, Pastor Leonard Steele, one of three who founded the company in 1987, reminisced of a woman he met on one of his community visits, who had a vision to have a church in Irish Town and $15,000 to dedicate to the cause.

As a result, a search began to find a location to launch the place of worship, but after much efforts, the only place available was a popular dancehall spot in Donkey Pen, Red Light. Steele, however, was not daunted in his plans to plant a church.

“We’re gonna run away the devil, and consecrate this place for Jesus,” said Steele as he reflected on his thoughts at the time.

A powerful crusade took place in that very spot, baptizing 22 souls including a Pentecostal preacher. The search for a permanent residence to house the newly baptized members continued, taking the branch sabbath school from Donkey Pen to Goat Pen in Irish Town. There the membership grew to over 40, and the service was conducted under a shed. A hurricane, however, forced the congregation to again move, this time the members were blessed with its current location, made available by one Sis. Henry.

Pastor Ryandro Brown, host pastor of the Woodford District of Churches of which Irish Town is a part, proudly presented to the president of the East Jamaica Conference, Pastor Eric Nathan, the newly elected officers chosen to lead the church.

In addressing the elected leaders, Pastor Nathan expressed his delight in the current state of the church.

“I’m really thrilled to see the level of maturity that characterizes the company here at Irish Town,” said Pastor Nathan.

“I see blood, sweat and tears in this place… perseverance over many years,” he continued.

In his charge, the president empowered the members, encouraging them to stay the course, despite future challenges that will come their


Secretary of the East Jamaica Conference, Pastor Linton Williams led members through vows of reaffirmation and statements of commitment to the organization.

Vionie Johnson, the first to be baptized in the crusade that started the church, and who later worked as a leader in the company, stood and sang a well-loved hymn “Is your all on the Altar”, a song fitting for the occasion.

A passionate Elder Noel Walker highlighted the steps taken to acquire and build up the now permanent location of the church. In his testimony he shared the difficulties and obstacles that could have affected the progress of the ministry, but he is assured that God is by their side. “A lot of struggles went on… we are not sure of what is ahead, but we are sure, that who is in control, will be able to take care,” said Walker.

Though enduring great trials and difficulties, the congregation of the Irish Town SDA Church stands tall, ready more than ever to carry out the mandate of God, to share the gospel and the hope of salvation.  

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