Norbrook Church comes of age after thirty eight years of being a company
Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell | Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Just seven days after the Irish Town SDA Church was recommended for induction into the sisterhood of churches, the Norbrook Company followed suit on May 5, 2018 bringing to three, the number of churches that have moved from company status to that of church over the past three months in East Jamaica Conference (EJC).
On February 24, 2018, the Harbour Heights Company, which was attached to the Harbour View SDA Church, was organized into a church and was the first in the series of companies earmarked for transitioning into full-fledged churches in EJC. On April 28, 2018 the Irish Town company made a similar step, and in so doing paved the way for the Norbrook church to be the third in the series of churches in EJC that will be recommended for induction into the sisterhood of churches come Conference Session June 18 -19, 2018.
Both the Irish Town and the Norbrook Company were started as branch Sabbath Schools by the Woodford SDA Church more than three decades ago and all three have a common pastor and board chairman in the person of Pastor Ryandro Brown.
In a service conducted by EJC Administrators Pastor Eric Nathan and Pastor Linton Williams, the thirty eight year mother / daughter relationship between Woodford SDA and the Norbrook Company came to an close as leaders and members of both churches joined in giving thanks to God for taking them to a new chapter of church life and history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica.
Executive Secretary of EJC, Pastor Linton Williams explained what it meant for a church to be transitioned from a company to a church. “This means that you will no longer be tied to your mother Woodford but that you will now be able to stand on your own,” Williams said.
Williams explained that when the officers of the church are installed, instead of sending their statistical reports to their mother church as they had done for many years, they would now report directly to the Conference. “It also means that at any constituency meeting that the Conference calls, and a delegate is to be sent, then the Norbrook SDA Church would have its own delegates to represent the church,” Williams said.
Elder of the Woodford SDA Church, Albert Walker, likened the Norbrook church to a daughter who had come of age when he said “another of my daughters has grown to where I need to let her go. Last week the Irish Town Church came of age and this week it is Norbrook.”
While the leaders and members of the Woodford Church were happy that the Norbrook Company was now of age and able to stand on their own, there was evidence of sadness as people grappled with the idea that the relationship between both churches would be changed forever and would no longer be the same.
Pastor Ryandro Brown, pastor of the Woodford District of churches and his wife Paula were commended for their service to the churches in the district by Pastor Linton Williams. .
“I want to commend on behalf of the Conference, your pastor who is young, vibrant and dynamic and always smiling,” Williams said as he brought greetings on behalf of the Conference. “East Jamaica Conference is very proud of you for the great work that you are doing in this part of the vineyard.”
In giving the history of the church, Brown said the Norbrook company started out as a branch Sabbath school of the Woodford church in the community of Seaward. A year after the branch Sabbath School was started a campaign was conducted by a group of elders under the guidance of Pastor Terrence Thomas which resulted in the baptism of two persons.
Brown shared that the Norbrook Company for many years was on shaky grounds and somewhere between the periods 2007 – 2008, the decision was made to close the church as it was dying.
According to Brown the decision was already made to close the church when Elder Nicholson along with a few others petitioned the Woodford Church Board to give them one more month to revive the church. After the
one month, they presented a candidate for baptism. They then went back to the Woodford board and asked for three months to work the field for souls. “In the third month more persons were baptized and the Norbrook Church was speared and remained opened,” Brown said.
Thanks and commendation was made to all the members, elders and pastors who sacrificed their time and effort to build up the Norbrook Church.
Pastor Ryandro Brown presented the names of the new officers and board members of the Norbrook Church which was headed by longstanding elder of the Woodford SDA Church, Elder Aubry Henry. who also carries the portfolio responsibility of Treasurer.
With the names presented and the vote taken to accept those presented as the new leaders of the Norbrook SDA Church Board, president of EJC, Pastor Eric Nathan, commended the members of the Woodford church for nurturing and supporting both the Irish Town and the Norbrook Company over the many years that they functioned as a company.
“We are very happy with what is happening here this afternoon,” said Pastor Nathan. “The mission of the church is to win souls for the kingdom and I must commend the Woodford SDA Church as last week I saw the result of their labor as the Irish Town Church joined the sisterhood of churches and again this week we are seeing another. Clearly, this church believes in the spreading the gospel.”
Turning to the new leaders of the Norbrook church Nathan said, “When God calls people he equips them. If he brings you to it, he will take you through it.”
Nathan used scripture passage found in 1 Sam 7: 1 – 12 as the basis for his message
Ministerial Secretary of the Conference Pastor Wadsworth McAnuff lead the church through the liturgy and the final dedicatory prayer was offered by Pastor Linton Williams.