Ellen Street Church of God celebrates 103 years of existence
Ellen Street, Manchester:
Recounting precious memories and embracing a rich legacy, past and present members and church affiliates recently gathered for a two-day celebration at the Ellen Street Church of God, which has been in existence for 103 years.
With a memorable Saturday evening banquet, the celebrations got under way in the company of several members of the diaspora and the church community, who each had a chance to travel on a time machine from the past, signalling much hope for a brighter future, through the presentations made.
"Many have passed on dollars and cents to their children, but what has been passed on to us is priceless. It's invaluable, and it is by which we live and what we hope the generations after us will continue to live by," stated grandson of the founders, Reverend Oral Barrett.
The church, which began in 1912 by George and Julia Barrett, grew from a small gathering at the home of the Barretts to dozens needing to hear the word of God, in a short period of time.
With an insatiable drive to be able to accommodate these people, Pappy George, as Barrett was affectionately called, soon received a plot of land from his wife's father, Horatio Pinnock, to construct a church.
It was no easy task for the persons then to transport the building material of stones, timbers and log, but it was done with much zeal for and anticipation of the fruits their labour would bear.
SPREADING THE WORD
After having been established, Ellen Street Church moved on to spreading the word and establishing churches in communities such as May Day, Grove Place, Prospect, Coffee Grove and Victoria, all in the parish of Manchester.
Playing a pivotal role in the vibrancy of the church with its music ministry, the members remembered Glenton Morgan (deceased) and Joseph Chambers as well as those who facilitated them, the pastors - the Reverend Sidney Mullings, who gave six years of service; the Reverend Kenneth Smith, who gave 11 years; the Reverend Clayton, who gave eight years; the Reverend Albert Binnie, giving five years of service; and Pastor Keith Rose and Pastor Walters, who served one year and four years, respectively.
During the second phase of the anniversary celebrations, a spirit-filled church service, Pastor Veira Thomas expressed his pleasure in being a part of the progression of the church.
"We are truly blessed of the Almighty to be sharing in this day, to be celebrating the past and embracing the future ... remembering always as we pay homage to those who have blazed the trail ahead of us, that we should continue to do our part in a significant way so that, first, we please God and then leave a legacy for others to continue."
It was in affirmation of this statement that six long-standing members of the church were awarded with plaques and an acknowledgement of the indelible mark they have left on the lives of those in and out of the church.
Though several foundation members have gone on before, the feeling of pride was truly felt by their offsprings who gave tributes and testimonies during the celebratory period.
"It is a great blessing and a pleasure for me to be here among you. I'm sure my father would be pleased if he were here, today. With the effort that is being put forth here, I salute you. I see the work that you have been doing and I feel guilty that I am not here in Jamaica to help, but I will continue to do what I can," said Lorenzo Wright during an emotional tribute
Bringing a close to the presentations, executive chairman of the Church of God in Jamaica, the Reverend Adinhair Jones, said:
"God is a good God, and it is only because of Him that we could have gathered last night and today for this milestone worship experience. We seek to take the burden for the next journey. There is a burden to embrace for the shaping of the future ... and the future is going to be brighter than the present."
The celebrations ended with happy hearts, hopeful souls and the oldest member of the church along with a young member cutting the anniversary cake.