We’re building bridges that we can cross - Pastor Campbell
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Pastor Isaiah Campbell of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was born and grew up in Cascade, Portland, but relocated to St Mary in his mid-20s and has been preaching throughout the parish for more than 60 years.
The 85-year-old minister believes the way people worship has changed significantly during that time, and despite his age, plans to continue preaching the word of God for as long as possible.
Speaking earlier this week, he told Family and Religion: "I got into ministry after I gave my life to Jesus Christ because I wanted to work for Him, and somebody in my (church) meeting recommended that I be given a scholarship to a Bible College.
"I went to Jamaica Bible College and the United Theological College of the West Indies, in Kingston, and a few years later, I did some more training at Friends College in Indiana, USA.
"After graduating, I came back to Jamaica and started to work for the Religious Society of Friends in about 1953. Then, I was employed as a Christian Worker in St Mary, under the leadership of Pastor Zephaniah Cunningham.
"Today, I would say there is a lot more cooperation among churches than there used to be. We're not building any walls or fences; we're building bridges that we can cross."
While Campbell maintains the parish's numerous churches are more unified than at any time he can remember, he also notes that in the community of Sandside where his Quaker Hill church is based, baptisms and communions are increasingly becoming more important to local residents.
He explained: "I think the biggest issues that Christians here talk about are water baptisms and communion, which is the bread and wine. As Quakers, we don't actually use the actual bread and wine, but we do baptisms.
"The big issue is: if you are not baptised and have never taken the bread and wine, in the estimation of some people, you are not Christian. But as Quakers, we don't believe in that. We believe in the spiritual bread, wine, and baptism. What we are doing here now, talking, is communion; and as you know, that is fellowship."
Campbell is greatly encouraged by the thought that he is never without God, and in spite of his advancing years, is considering increasing his workload in the near future.
He said: "The scripture I quote daily is Hebrews 13:5: 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you.' That one is important because God has been so good to me, and I notice that every day, his promises to me are fulfilled in my life. When I go out alone, I know that God has promised to never leave or forsake me, and so He is with me, and that is very comforting.
"But there is still more work to be done, and to be honest with you, I believe that I'm not doing all I should for Jesus Christ. Although I'm getting older, I can still do a little more for him, in witnessing, preaching, and encouragement."