'You are either a Christian or not'
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Pastor Florence Brown is a devoted religious leader who has served for the last 18 years as minister of the Post Road Pentecostal Church, located a few miles east of St Mary's capital, Port Maria.
In 1973, Brown was confirmed and saved as a member of the Anglican Church, but converted to the Pentecostal Church of God in 1975, and enrolled into Bible College later that year.
Looking back, the cheerful and charismatic former basic schoolteacher remembers feeling compelled to dedicate her life to God. She told Family and Religion: "Throughout school and after I got saved, it felt like there was a special burden on me, and the more I grew, the more I realised there was a calling.
"It felt like I wasn't being fulfilled and needed more. And so, I went to a crusade that was held by the Pentecostal Church of God and poured out my heart. That's when I understood I had the call of the Lord in my life.
"I could have done something else, but there was a fear of doing something that wasn't the will of God, so I entered the ministry, went to Bible College, and realised this is where I belonged."
Brown, who co-owns Uncle B's Jerk Centre in Port Maria, has lived in St Mary for more than 30 years and believes one of the biggest religious issues affecting the parish is the hypocrisy of faux Christians who attend church, but live immoral lifestyles.
"I think people are confused when it comes to Christianity," she explained. "If you're a Christian, you're a Christian. Living a Christian life means you're Christlike, so you don't mix with certain things. It's a straight path; don't look to the right, nor to the left.
"You have people who go to church and tell you they are Christians, but you know they're not because they have boyfriends and girlfriends, and they live with their wives and husbands.
"They go to the most dances and do the most drinking, lying, and stealing. If you're a Christian, you know that's not the right way.
"People are afraid to be live religiously like Christ, but I believe if you're a Christian, your life should reflect that, not just for yourself, but for others to see because your life becomes like a mirror."
Nonetheless Brown, whose mother is also a pastor, is confident that at some time in the near future, people generally will take their relationship with God more seriously.
She said: "Things can change because it's an individual thing. Most people wait until they are dying before they make that final decision because they know if they continue as they are, they are going to hell.
"They wait until they see death coming, that's when they finally make the decision, but before that, they are having fun, living their life; a nuh nutt'n, it's just the norm.
"But I recommend you try to make that decision earlier because I would not like for my greatest enemy, if I have one, to go to hell because from what the Bible tells me about that place; it's not going to be nice."