60 years and going strong
Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer
As a minister of the gospel, Rev Edwin Foster has travelled far and wide in sun, storm, and rain to spread the word of God. He was baptised in 1946 at 23 years old and has been a minister of the gospel for more than 60 years. Fresh out of Bible college in Montego Bay in the 1950s, Foster and his now deceased wife came to the hills of Clarendon to evangelise when they assumed control of a Bible school in Summerfield, Clarendon.
They started a Sunday school inside the halls of the Bible school, which eventually grew into a church. However, this was short-lived as the property, which housed the Bible school (and church), was sold, leaving Foster to find another place to worship and carry on his biblical teachings and pastoral work. It was then that he bought a property in Summerfield on which the Grace Chapel Assembly of God has been located since 1976.
At 90 years old, Foster is said to be the 'oldest living testimony' of how the Assembly of God ministries began in Jamaica. His present wife, Janet, said he is able to tell who came and started the Assembly of God in Jamaica. "They come to interview him all the time and keep it on record," she said.
Foster has sent quite a number of persons desirous of becoming ministers of the gospel to Bible college. At present, there are six ministers within the Assembly of God ministry who are now pastors or officers who have passed, through the Grace Chapel Assembly Church of God.
Three years ago, Foster, who is labelled as the 'Pioneering Pastor' of the Grace Chapel Assembly of God in Summerfield, gave up doing pastoral work because of his age. "I can't manage it anymore, so I turned over the church fully to a younger person who I know is fully capable of carrying on the work of the ministry. In times gone by, I would be here, there, and everywhere with a bag on my shoulder evangelising to persons, but I can't manage that anymore" said the reverend.
Pastor Dwayne Edwards is the third pastor of the church and has been there for almost a year, having been recommended by his predecessor. He said he embraces the church and its community and is ready to take the church to another level. "I will be working hard in this church, especially in the youth department to impact their lives spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I take it as an honour and privilege to carry on the work that Foster has started here."
The Grace Chapel Assembly currently has approximately 60 members and Edwards says he is committed to the growth and development of the church, producing dynamic leaders who will, in turn, make a positive impact on society.
In the words of Foster: "I would like the church to be established on the basis of salvation and carried on in such a way where the people are completely committed to the church."