Sat | Dec 16, 2017

UPC confirms sacking of Pentab Pastor

Published:Friday | September 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
John-Mark Bartlett.

The United Pentecostal Church (UPC), the umbrella organisation of apostolic churches in Jamaica, yesterday confirmed the dismissal of Wildman Street Pentecostal Tabernacle (Pentab) pastor John-Mark Bartlett.

The confirmation came by way of a two-page letter from the president of the UPC, O. Garth McKoy, dated September 27, the day after The Gleaner broke the story of the sacking.

McKoy, who The Gleaner was told on Monday would be unavailable for three weeks, said inter alia, "The decision taken by the national board was solely on doctrinal matters, and the same was done after a number of meetings were conducted with Pastor John-Mark Bartlett in an effort to ascertain and validate."

McKoy's letter did not state the apostolic doctrine, nor did it cite any examples of deviance by the Pentab pastor.

Addressing the issue of revenge - going after pastors who objected to their decision to evict Faith Apostolic Ministries (formerly Faith Chapel from Renfield Avenue) - the letter addressed to "fellow pastors, ministers, and members of the United Pentecostal church of Jamaica family" denied that the UPC was in revenge mode.

"Categorically, the UPC is in no revenge mode nor would there be the least chance of same for various reasons, having regards to the fact that the matter referenced (Faith Apostolic) was settled months ago," the letter said.

 

NO DECISION RE HOME

 

The UPC also said that no decision had been taken about benefits for the long-serving pastor of more than 20 years who attended Pentab as a child and rose to become pastor.

"Even at this present time, no decision has been made or contemplated regarding Pastor Bartlett's pension or evicting him and his family from their home," read the letter.

The Gleaner has since learnt that Bartlett was served with the dismissal letter during the church's annual 'September to Remember' week of activities, and he said nothing to those in attendance and neither did he say anything in church on Sunday, September 24.

"We only knew because of the Gleaner story," said a Pentab member.

Members of the public have condemned the move by the UPC and have dismissed as "rubbish" the organisation's position of "doctrinal" differences.

"Pentab baptise you in the name of Jesus and believe in tongue speaking as evidence of the Holy Spirit. So that is a lie. What they won't tell you is that at Pentab, John-Mark is not going to turn away someone with cream hair, a sleeveless dress, or someone wearing pants. And in any case, these are trumped-up charges. It's because of the Faith Chapel issue," said an individual close to the matter.

Apostolics adhere to the non-Trinitarian doctrine of oneness and evidence of infilling of the Holy Spirit by the speaking of tongues. The group was formed in 1945 by a merger of the former Pentecostal Church and the Incorporated and Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com