Tue | Oct 22, 2019

Faith United Tabernacle: Ministering to body and soul

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2019 | 12:13 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston - Gleaner Writer

LONGVILLE PARK, Clarendon:

The Faith United Tabernacle, located in Longville Park, has come a far way from operating out of a small studio in the community, to now looking forward to completing a spacious building in the near future.

For Pastor Leslie Jones and his wife Georgette, it’s been a long, hard, prayer-filled road to get the institution to its current position.

The church, which began with 27 members, went through many changes. As the membership grew, so too their service locations – operating out of a tent, to the community centre, renting one of the units at the plaza, until finally they purchased a lot where a permanent structure is being erected for its more than 80 members.

“Here at the church, we don’t just focus on spiritual issues, but about taking care of the whole man,” Jones shared, pointing out that it was the catalyst for starting a school CSEC programme at the church, as well as adult education focusing on literacy and numeracy.

Since being in the community, Jones said the church has had a big impact through its outreach ministry, which involves welfare – providing care packages for the seniors, back-to-school treats, inclusive of vouchers and school supplies, and providing mentorship for the young people in not just the church, but from the wider community.

Faith Tabernacle, which falls under the umbrella of First United Tabernacle International Ministry (FUTIM), began in the living room of Evangelist Winnifred Thompson, along with a small group of dedicated saints known as the Apostolic Prayer Band.

The weekly prayer meeting quickly developed into something more than the living room could handle.

Faith United is now walking in the path of its predecessor, as through their ministry, two churches have been established, one in Salt River and the other in the troubled community of Rasta Corner, close to Sandy Bay in Clarendon.

“Our ministry goes beyond the walls of the church. Considering we are operating in a parish that has more than its share of violence, the focus is on impacting the young, sharing the gospel and allowing them to see that we are not just about being ensconced in a building,” said Jones.

Jones, who committed his life to Christ in 1983 and was baptised at the Harvest Temple Church of God, converted to Apostolicism and joined the Grace Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church family in 1988.

Being active in various roles in the ministry, including choir director, musician, assistant youth president, he became the youth evangelism outreach ministry leader in charge of 11 churches, where he coordinated several street meetings and youth functions.

Jones, who embraced his calling in evangelism, has travelled to several countries spreading the gospel, including Bahamas, Antigua, the Cayman Islands and the United States of America.

In 2013, Jones transitioned to FUTIM when Bishop Faulknor – a long time friend – invited him to be a part of their church’s organisation.

Looking ahead, Jones has big plans for the church’s ministry, which will include a homework centre, Internet café and after-school care for children; and for the future an academy catering from kindergarten to high school, and also a Bible school.