Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Decision to quit is Al Miller's and church's, say pastors

Published:Tuesday | July 26, 2016 | 7:00 AMJason Cross
Miller

A number of pastors have weighed in on whether the Reverend Al Miller should step down as pastor of the Fellowship Tabernacle following his recent conviction for perverting the course of justice in 2010, when he purportedly attempted to transport drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke to the United States Embassy in Kingston instead of turning him over to local authorities.

Some of the men of the cloth preferred to wash their hands clean of the issue, while those who responded seemed to be extending brotherly compassion rather than being judgemental.

According to Bishop Junior Headlam, pastor of the Old Harbour Church of God of Prophecy, Al Miller is a man of God and he was only assisting the State, as pastors usually do.

"First of all, it's very unfortunate," he said. "As to whether or not he should step down, I don't see the need for him to step down, but that would be a decision for him and his church to make. It's unfortunate the (way) the situation turned out, because the Church has been a major source of help for the police in solving a lot of issues in communities, (like) taking in men who are wanted, handing over guns to the police, (and) averting a lot of tragedy that could have taken place."

He continued, "I cannot doubt the Reverend Al Miller. When I listened to Reverend Miller, he stated that he was taking the gentleman to the US Embassy with full knowledge of the commissioner of police. I don't know how Reverend Miller could say he's taking this man in with full knowledge of the commissioner of police if it was not so."

 

"Less than candid"

 

However, Judge Simone Wolfe-Reece told Miller that based on the evidence presented throughout the trial, she formed the view that he was "less than candid with the court" about what had happened the day Coke was captured. She thought his actions facilitated the desires of Christopher Coke.

Charles Brevitt, pastor of the Glendevon Seventh-day Adventist Church in Montego Bay, the decision of whether he should step down is one to be taken by the Reverend Miller's church.

"Each church has its protocols. We have developed a culture in Jamaica for calling for people's head and for people to resign when the people is not us. The church ought to be the barometer of integrity in society. I believe that Reverend Al Miller is a very experienced clergyman in this country and I feel that he should be in a moral position to make that judgement call," he said.

Bible Teachers International's Cynthia Passley believes that God will forgive Miller, but insists that he will have to face the consequences of his actions.

"If he asks for forgiveness, God will forgive him, but he will have to face whatever the sentence is. If God forgives, we also should forgive him,"she said.

She painted a scenario of how Miller could have got himself in the trouble he is in. "If I am so caught up in helping, I might not see and think of the way Christ would think in the matter. I am so emotionally caught up and just want to get this man to safety," she said.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com