Bishop O’Neil Miller on a spiritual path - Part 1
Exactly two years ago, Family and Religion spoke with Bishop O'Neil Miller of the Apostolic Sabbath Church in Golden Hill, St Andrew, about the challenges he was facing with the said church, of which he is the builder and the head. It was on the occasion of the ninth anniversary that Family and Religion visited.
Among other things, Bishop Miller had said, "The constant spiritual fight has caused the church (membership) to diminish dramatically." At one point he even put up the building for sale. Yet, he said he was looking forward to his 10th anniversary despite the fight". "I want the church to continue to grow regardless of the challenges we are having," Bishop Miller had also said.
Now, on Sunday, July 2, Bishop Miller celebrated his 11th anniversary with a special appreciation and anniversary service, under the theme of 'In spite of it all God is still with me'.
In keeping with that theme, Bishop Miller said in the programme notes, "It is indeed a profound pleasure and privilege to greet you on this momentous and auspicious occasion. My heart is filled with excitement, gratitude and appreciation. As I look back over many years, God has kept me and has delivered me out of the enemies' hands."
The work that he is doing has not gone unobserved, it seems, as in his programme profile members of his flock remarked: "As the father of one child, Bishop Miller continues to do the work of God. As he strives for higher heights and deeper depths in Christ, Sabbath after Sabbath, he continues to give the word ... . As he continues to be our pilot, we take the time out ... today, to say ... Sir, you are a godsend ... We appreciate you, we love you."
The love poured freely from the lips of the delegates who travelled from several parishes to help Bishop Miller celebrate his milestone. Among the accolades were some humorous anecdotes, thought-provoking utterances, and tributes in songs. Subsequently the praises gave way to material tokens of appreciate from some of the visiting delegates, and sub-groups in Bishop Miller's church.
Yet, the highlight of the evening was the conferral of a "spiritual doctorate" upon Bishop Miller by His Grace, The Archbishop, The Most Reverend Dr V. W. Lawrence, who was also the guest speaker.
Surrounded by the leaders in the visiting delegates Bishop Miller listened to the counsel and words of encouragement from Reverend Lawrence, who then anointed Bishop Miller by bathing his head with olive oil. There was more advice, interspersed with singing, dancing and trumping.
While making high-fives with Bishop Miller, Archbishop Lawrence, shouted, "Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, seal and sign. God loves you. Take the task man, take the task, there's work to be done ... there's more work in the vineyard for you." And, then there was more spirited trumping. The signing and presentation of the certificate of honour and doctorate culminated the brief conferral ceremony.
NO BLEAT TRIBUTES
In parts, the certificate reads, "Over the past decade, Bishop O'Neil Miller has depicted the noble attributes of an exemplary leader ... both spiritually and physically ... The quality of his leadership denotes excellence, and this has unequivocally earned him the right to hold the esteemed office of an honourable leader and doctorate of the Apostolic Sabbath Church. We hereby bestow upon him the office of The Right Honourable Bishop Dr O'Neil Miller.
In part two, Bishop Miller talks about his healing and spiritual ministry, and the conferral of his spiritual doctorate.