A church in mourning - 'It just come in like you lose yuh mother'
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
It was early Sunday morning and church member Marcia Hendricks was up to ensure that the Lily of the Valley Spiritual Healing Temple in Harrison Town, Ocho Rios, was clean and ready to host another missionary convention over four days, starting that morning.
While there, Hendricks heard news of someone in Discovery Bay being shot. It wasn't until much later in the morning that she heard that it was her church leader, Bishop Delroy Bigham.
The news left her in shock.
"Oh, God, it was stressful," Hendricks told The Gleaner. "He's a man, he doesn't love war. He will tell you the truth, but nothing further. He just shares love with you.
"It hurt bad. It jus' come in like yuh lose yuh mother. Your whole world is down," she added.
Known to many as a prophet, Bigham served his church and the wider community well, healing the sick, saving people from death, and correctly prophesying events, church members have testified.
At the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital on Sunday, where Bigham was pronounced dead after being shot at his home in Discovery Bay, people from all over Jamaica who arrived for the start of the convention instead found themselves mourning at the hospital. They were unable to come to terms with the brutal murder of the man they have come to love and cherish.
"Some people said bishop told them to come because they needed some healing and stuff. That's basically what we do at the church. A lot of people come for healing every Sunday and Wednesday," explained Belinda Bailey, general secretary and coordinator at the church.
She was at a loss when The Gleaner spoke with her on Monday.
"It is so very sad. I can't believe they would take the life of a powerful man like that, a man who takes care of everybody," she lamented.
"He has been there for everybody. He has given away every single thing that he ever had. I can't believe they could actually just walk in and just snatch his life, as if they can give back life. Everybody is so sad. People were at the hospital up to seven o'clock last night, people from all over the island."
Lily of the Valley Spiritual Healing Temple, as the name suggests, is known as a healing temple and an institution that people have come to believe in, not only for healing, but also for prophecy, members said.
Bailey related one such episode to this newspaper.
"Last month (August), he told a lady her husband is going to die, but if she can reach the hospital within half an hour, he would survive. He picked a croton leaf from the vase we have on the table, gave it to her and said, 'Reach the hospital within half an hour. When you reach the hospital, put the croton under your husband's pillow, and this is the leaf of life. Put it under his tongue and tell him to chew it very slowly and he will survive.'
"Nobody remembered anything until last week Sunday. This man was in church dancing and jumping up and down, and when it came to testimony, he stood up and said, 'You know, I was dying. The doctor said I only had a few minutes to live and my wife came and said a pastor sent her to me and said I should chew the leaf and put the other one under my pillow. I am here today to tell you that I'm alive, I am well."
LIVED TO SAVE LIVES
She related another incident where a man, who had been a cripple for about two and a half years, went to the church and was healed by Bigham.
"You would have to be there to actually experience what I'm talking about. He saved so many people's lives," Bailey added.
"The church is very powerful, very spiritual. If you're one of those who is spiritual, once you step into the church, you can actually feel it. Some people say they are scared to come because he does a lot of prophecy. If you sit there, if something's gonna happen to you, he can tell you point blank. And he's pretty good at that. Some people come to the church to serve God, some come for the prophecy, some come for the healing, some come to just look. But it is so sad that he had to go like that."