Sat | Aug 19, 2017

... but Adventist Church still commands strong following

Published:Tuesday | December 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM

According to Jamaica's last population census conducted by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) in 2011, the proportion of persons within the western parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland, with no religious affiliation, ranged between 17 and 21.5 per cent.

At the same time, the largest Christian denomination in the west remained the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which had the biggest following in all parishes except Trelawny, where the Pentecostal Church topped the list.

In Trelawny, a parish with a population of 74,981, a total of 12, 957 persons or 17.2 per cent of its citizens had no religious or denominational affiliation. The largest religious denomination was the Pentecostal Church to which 11,082 persons were affiliated.

Another 9,173 persons were on record as being Seventh-day Adventists; 9,489 were reported as being affiliated to the Church of God of Prophecy; 9,144 were Baptists and 3,118 Anglican. There were 9,489 New Testament Church of God members or affiliates, while only 469 persons were recorded as being Roman Catholics.

Largest denomination

In neighbouring St James, out of a population of 182,295, a total of 38,063 or 21 per cent of the population said they had no religious affiliation. The largest denomination in the parish was the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to which 37,245 or 20.5 per cent of the residents were affiliated.

The Pentecostal Church also had one of the largest followings with 24,154 members or affiliates; the Baptist Church accounted for 16,286; the New Testament Church stood at 11,92;, while the Church of God of Prophecy and the Anglican Church had 3,561 and 3,603, respectively. The Roman Catholic Church accounted for 2,314 members or affiliates.

In Hanover, the smallest parish in western Jamaica with a population of just 69,341, a total of 14,857 or 21.5 per cent of the population said they had no religious affiliation. The Seventh-day Adventist Church was the largest religious grouping in the parish with 14,432 members or affiliates amounting to 21 per cent of the parish's population.

The New Testament Church of God was the second-largest grouping with 7,365; the Church of God of Prophecy accounted for 1,303; while the Baptist Church totalled 4,451. The Anglican and Pentecostal Churches had 1,157 and 3,886, persons being recorded as members or affiliates, respectively, while the Roman Catholic Church accounted for 528.

Like Hanover and St James, the pattern was similar in Westmoreland, which had a population of 143,685 at the time of the census. Twenty per cent of the parish residents or 29,155 persons, said they were of no religious persuasion. Again, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the largest religious grouping with 21,444 members or affiliates, or 15 per cent of Westmoreland's population.

The Pentecostal Church accounted for 13,176, while the New Testament Church accounted for 12,255. The Church of God of Prophecy accounted for 4,689 and the Baptists stood at 7,292. The Anglican Church had 4,363, while the Roman Catholic Church's figure stood at 2,741.

The remaining figures in all four parishes, consisted of persons of the Rastafarian faith and others from less-prominent Christian denominations.