Bishop Neville Currie – 44 years in ministry and looking for another 15
OLD HARBOUR, St Catherine:
HIS YEAR makes it 44 years since Bishop Neville Currie has been leading the flock at the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith in Old Harbour, St Catherine.
Reflecting on the journey, Currie said it has had its "ups and downs", but through it all he has seen God's faithfulness.
Currie's earliest memories of being conscious about God was hearing his father at age 10 talking to his older brother, then 15, about serving the Lord.
"I remembered thinking to myself at the time, if I was 15 then I would be serving the Lord," he told Family and Religion.
He said he forgot about that thought until, surprisingly, at the age of 15, he heard a voice saying, "Didn't you say you would be serving me when you turned 15?"
Bishop Currie said he answered the call, but "after finding freedom" he broke away from the path.
But a few years later, April 19, 1965 to be exact, he surrendered his life to God, this time with no looking back.
Born in Ulster Spring, Trelawny, he found love in St Catherine where his wife came from, and so he relocated.
48 years of marriage
The couple is today celebrating 48 years of marriage. Laughing, he said he had to learn to compromise as his wife "was very particular ... the house must spic and span, if the bed not straightened ... call the doctor, anything out of place ... call the doctor," he said between chuckles.
But for him, understanding her and being quick to apologise to each other when they are in the wrong has kept their marriage on stream, ensuring their three children grow up in a family-friendly environment.
"What I admire most about my wife is that she was committed to the family. She had an opportunity to go abroad, but she said there is no way she is leaving her family and she stayed," he said, with that note of admiration still in his voice.
Reflecting on his pastoral ministry, which started in December, 1971 he said there were good days and bad days, but in each he has seen God's hand in his life.
He said at one point in the '70s, he felt very alone as membership in the church dwindled down to almost no one. But Sunday after Sunday, he would preach as if he had a full house.
Today, the church membership now sits at approximately 450 and counting for which Currie is giving God thanks.
He also recounted an experience he had in the early days that convinced him God was on his side.
"I used to deliver telegrams and I remembered one night I was riding my bicycle, and when it reached a certain spot, no matter what I did, it was back pedalling. I got off it and turned on my flashlight," he said.
What he saw had him going down on his knees to pray and recommit his life to God.
"Had I gone forward on the bicycle, I would have fallen into an open sewer pit about 12 feet deep, which had water in it," he said.
Bishop Currie said he also experienced God's healing power in his life, as an asthmatic he got so sick at one point that his wife called his children to come and take a look at their father for the last time.
"Those experiences brought me closer to God. Over the years I have seen God's hand in my life, so I can declare to anyone that He is a healer," he said.
Bishop Currie is now looking forward to another 15 years in ministry and he is presently working on establishing a ministry in telephone prayer. "I feel strongly that this Lord is giving me another 15 years. The word of God is medicine," he said.