Year-long plans for Lucea United Church 185th anniversary
Claudia Gardner, Assignment Coordinator
Scores of congregation members and well-wishers turned out last Sunday evening, to make a joyful noise, at the launch of the 185th anniversary celebrations of the Lucea United Church, which is set to take place throughout 2015.
The celebrations are being staged under the theme Discipleship ... A Distinguished Call for Dedicated Service. The launch was also dubbed an Evening of Excellence, and saw stellar performances from gospel singers Carole Reid and Harold Davis; the Lucea United Church choir as well as groups The Gideons and The Emmanuels.
The Lucea United Church has the distinction of having the largest membership of that denomination in the western region and is one of the fastest-growing congregations. It was established in 1830 by Reverend James Watson, who was said to have arrived in Lucea in 1827.
Lucea holds a significant place in the history of the Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, church official Tania Watson said during her overview of the anniversary activities. It has survived 185 years and continues to contribute to the development of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands as witnessed by the growth of its daughter churches of Greenland, Lances Bay, Campbell Memorial and Elgin Town.
The event also saw the launch of the church's scholarship/ endowment fund. According to Reverend Glenroy Clarke, the current minister of the church, the congregation has an ongoing programme that assists students with paying their school fees.
"We have a medical student in China who we are assisting as a church. After we are finished with him, we will take another student through university. In addition to that, we also give out bursaries to over 20 students each year," Reverend Clarke, who is the only born Hanoverian to hold the post as minister of the church, told Western Focus, in an interview following the launch.
"This 185th anniversary celebration is very significant because we are the second oldest Presbyterian church in the Caribbean, after Hampden in Trelawny," he added.
The celebratory activities will commence in February with the launch of an essay competition. It will also feature a week-long homecoming celebration in August, comprising a church service and brunch; a gospel meeting in the Lucea Bus Park, a health fair and a money management seminar; a family fun day and a gospel concert.
The anniversary celebrations will come to a climax in October 2015 at the churchs anniversary dinner and awards reception in Lucea.