Reverend Carmalita Collins honoured for 50 years of service to church
For 50 years, the Reverend Carmelita Elzada Collins of Falmouth, Trelawny, has been expounding the word of God. In recognition of her faithful service, she was recently honoured by her church, with the support of many well-wishers.
Tributes were paid for her commitment to God and his principles. A highlight of her ministry is that of preaching on the streets. One person recalled how the honouree saved her from a life of drunkenness on the street to a transformed life expounding the word of God.
Her open-door and open-fridge policy, where all are welcome and a meal extended to everyone, were statements that kept recurring as persons spoke of her benevolence.
Some 30 years ago, she was known as Sister Collins but has morphed to Mother Collins, which is a transformation in both name and nature. In a comical way, a particular hairstyle worn by one of her parishioners, which is now accepted by her, would not be tolerated 30 years ago.
She was born on September 9, 1934 in Fullersfield, Grange Hill, Westmoreland. She is the first child of Gladys Othneil Dawes. From her formative years, she was said to be very responsible and very much a natural-born leader.
Having lost her mother at the age of nine, she took on the role of caring for her siblings, while her father worked to support the family. She engaged in varied sports and was a great sportswoman, copping the prize of Champion Girl at Grange Hill All-Age.
After leaving Grange Hill All-Age School, she learned the trade of a seamstress. She moved to Falmouth at the age of 20, and two years later got married to Silbert Collins. The union produced six children, all with outstanding achievements. Much credit was bestowed upon her for her sacrifice, discipline, and exemplary life as a wife and mother.
In caring for her family, she spent a lot of time sewing for the community and working at the Falmouth Hospital until her retirement in 1988. At the Falmouth Hospital, she was the leader of the prayer group and fervently maintained her prayer life.
Her early Christian discipleship started in the William Knibb Memorial Baptist Church in the year 1944. Under strong convictions, she later solidified her faith and transferred her membership to the New Testament Church of God, Falmouth, in 1965.
In 1992, her second son, Bishop KD Collins, received a vision to birth the Harvest Army Outreach Ministry. With much enthusiasm, he shared the vision with his mother and impressed upon her his need for her to start the ministry in Jamaica. Initially, she was reluctant, but with much prayer and the blessing of her pastor, she went ahead to spearhead the move in Jamaica. Harvest Army Church International now has a branch in every continent of the world.
As one of the founding members of the Harvest Army Outreach Church International, she has served as assistant national overseer for Jamaica. In 2013, the church was rebranded the Faith International Harvest Church, under the divine instruction and leadership of Bishop D.G. Collins. Mother Collins serves as national overseer and continues to nurture persons from all age group.
She is said to be one who leads by example even when it comes to doing things in the sanctuary. She is familiar with the hammer, nails, paint brush or any other instrument that can be used to enhance the house of God.
Church members and wel-wishers say she always takes time out of her busy schedule to respond to the invitations of service clubs and organisations, visiting the shut-ins, old-age homes, government institutions, and carrying out house-to-house and personal evangelism.
The appreciation service, which was held on September 13, was moderated by Pastor Misha Malcolm and included Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Garth Wilkinson. The message was delivered by Bishop Delton Collins. Items were rendered by Adrian Dell, Anntenniel McLean, and the church choir. A citation to her was read by Miss Jody Collins.