The Rev. Dr. Sam Vassell (right), pastor of the Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene, New York, prays for the newly-installed leaders of Swallowfield Chapel and their wives as other members of the oversight body look on at Le Meridien Jamaica Pegasus Hotel last Sunday. They are from left, Mr. David Henry, full-time pastor and his wife Dr. Brenda Chin-Henry; Elder Paul Henry and his wife Mrs. Nova Henry; Mrs. June Harris and Elder Richard Harris. -Winston Sill
HE EMPHASIS in the 30th anniversary service of Swallowfield Chapel last Sunday evening was on leadership as the church installed two new elders and a full-time pastor and announced its 'Youth Reaching Youth' ministry, which begins in January, to train youth leaders.
Elder Charles Royes told members, "The Lord will be enriching and expanding the cadre of leaders at Swallow-field."
The church celebrated the appointment of Elder David Henry as a full-time pastor. Mr. Henry, who has been an elder of the church for the past 14 years, grew up in the church, participating in various ministries including sport, music and was president of the Youth Fellowship.
Describing Mr. Henry's leadership as passionate and energetic, Dr. Royes said that the Lord was calling him to full-time leadership in the church at Swallowfield and in the church of God in the nation.
Mr. Henry has resigned his job as a successful attorney-at-law and, in January, will assume full-time duties as pastor of the church.
The two new elders, Richard Harris who has been at Swallowfield for 20 years, working in varied ministries including co-ordination of small group fellowships or Care Groups and Paul Henry, the church's current Youth Pastor, and who, following graduation from seminary worked in the island's west with Jamaica Child Evangelism Fellowship, were also installed on the Church's oversight body.
Swallowfield Chapel is committing itself over the next four years to a major outreach programme called 'Youth Reaching Youth' to empower about 50 young people to make an impact on more than 20,000 of their own peers to lead healthy, productive and purposeful lifestyles.
It will be seeking sponsorship for the project which aims to train young people in health education, life skills and evangelism. The church will also train them to communicate their skills and knowledge in a variety of ways using the visual and performing arts.
According to Director of Counselling, Sharon Nash, "As a church we think our young people are worth the investment. We think our nation is worth it."
Guest preacher, the Rev. Dr. Sam Vassell, pastor of the Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene in New York, reminded the congregation that the "church is called to be a shining light in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation".
"What the church needs to demonstrate to the world is a fundamental witness- a balanced life," the Rev. Dr. Vassell said.
"The genius of Christian church is in its diversity. Though we are different, we have a fundamental oneness that does not compromise our diversity. Unity does not require uniformity," he said.
He drew a parallel between the church today and the early church at Antioch where there was unity in diversity. In the five leaders of Antioch, all classes were represented in the leadership of the church. "We are ready for a church that is not just integrating what is in the world but modelling what God does in his kingdom," the Rev. Dr. Vassell said.
The church must also be a model of worship and of willingness to do God's will. "Our first work is to stand before God for the people and to stand before the people for God -- it is a priestly work," he said.