Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Burchell Baptist Church celebrates restored chapel

Published:Tuesday | August 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer
Ray Matteson (forefront), founder and chairman of the Texas-based Burchell Youth Development Foundation, takes part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony during the rededication service for the recently restored chapel at the Burchell Memorial Baptist Church in Montego Bay on Sunday, August 5. Church members look on. Matteson is the great-grandson of Burchell Baptist Church’s founder, the Reverend Thomas Burchell.
Bishop Conrad Pitkin, custos rotulorum for St James, delivers an address during the rededication service for the recently restored chapel at the Burchell Memorial Baptist Church in Montego Bay on Sunday, August 5.
The Burchell Memorial Baptist Church’s combined choir performs a musical item during the church’s rededication service for its recently restored chapel.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

The members of the 194-year-old Burchell Memorial Baptist Church in Montego Bay were in a praise and celebration mood on Sunday as they conducted a rededication service for their worship chapel, which was rehabilitated recently.

The service was held under the theme 'Partnership Fuelled by Commitment and Faithfulness' to celebrate the restoration of the church's chapel roof, which was repaired over a two-year period at a cost of J$17.7 million, with assistance from the Tourism Enhancement Fund.

Bishop Conrad Pitkin, custos rotulorum of St James, told the congregation in a brief address that the church's rededication was an additional piece of its long history in Montego Bay.

PILLAR OF STRENGTH

"Your church stands as a pillar of strength and inspiration to the city of Montego Bay, and by extension, to the parish of St James. Today (Sunday), you are adding a new chapter to the history of this city with the rededication of this church," said Pitkin.

"The church's longevity is evidence that God is interested in connecting people through Jesus. I'm trusting that it will continue to be a great lighthouse to the city of Montego Bay and the parish of St James."

Restorative work became necessary after the chapel roof collapsed in June 2015. Several other facilities were also installed during the restoration, including walkway ramps for disabled persons and a media room.

Appropriately enough, the rededication service was just in time for yesterday's Independence Day celebration as national hero Samuel Sharpe served as a deacon at the church prior to the original building's destruction during the Baptist War, or Christmas Rebellion, of 1831-1832.

The rededication service was also part of the church's weekend activities, which included the Texas-based Burchell Youth Development Foundation's fifth annual scholarship awards ceremony on Saturday. Forty high school and tertiary-education students were presented with scholarships during that ceremony.