Wed | Nov 22, 2017

The Jamaica Chinese Christian Church Part I - Origin and evolution

Published:Saturday | October 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Willliams
The Jamaica Chinese Christian Church building along Dominica Drive in New Kingston.

The seeds for the Jamaica Chinese Christian Church were planted on Sunday, July 1, 1984, when three families met to worship in a private residence.

Some six months on, the number of families grew to 10, to the extent where a Sunday school class was established to attend to the needs of the children.

In 1991 the gathering was officially registered as a church because of the increase in the number of the membership. Meetings were still held at private homes, which could no longer accommodate such an endeavour.

In 1992 permission was granted to use Sun Yat Sen Association at Trinidad Terrace in New Kingston, from which the Chinese community was targeted through different activities, such as annual Easter camps, picnics, Christmas dinners, special evangelistic outreaches and teaching ministries.

Yet, the increasing number outgrew that space, making the need for a permanent place of worship more dire. Visiting speakers and pastors from local and overseas churches served to help and build up a good and strong congregation. The children's ministries outgrew that location, too.

But while plans for the new building were under way, the church pressed on. In 2005, Jonathan Wong, commissioned from the youth group, became the church's first missionary, and in January 2006, Linda Lowe, retired child evangelism fellowship missionary to Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region, began to volunteer her services to the Chinese Christian Church. She speaks at church services once per month, is an advisor to the church, and serves among the youth group and the children.

The year 2006 also saw the beginning of a Bible class for the youth using the theme of the 'Purpose Driven Life', and teacher training classes for the youth leaders.

In January 2007, the junior church was established to keep the children occupied while the parents worshipped. In that same year, in April, there was a summer camp led by English Young People, while in July, architectural drawings for the church building were submitted to the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation for approval.

In June 2008, the church moved again, this time to Jamaica Theological Seminary (JTS), in an area where many Chinese resided. However, the membership did not increase significantly, as expected. Five months after, the KSAC approved the architectural drawings, and the following year, on June 7, a ground-breaking ceremony took place at the site for the building along Dominica Drive, in New Kingston.

Without any electricity, on August 29, 2010, the first service was held at Dominica Drive. Over 140 members and friends gathered to celebrate. Linda Lowe conveyed the keynote message, which was interpreted by Terry Lau.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com