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Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas celebrates 50 years

Published:Thursday | May 18, 2017 | 1:15 PM

Methodists throughout Jamaica will gather at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday, May 21, to celebrate 50 years since the signing of the Deed of Church Order and the Deed of Foundation by which the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) became independent of the British Methodist Conference and its evangelical arm, the Methodist Missionary Society.

The deed was signed on behalf of Methodists in the region by the Reverend Dr Hugh Sherlock, inaugural president of the new MCCA Conference on May 18, 1967, at the MCCA Conference Centre in Antigua, where Methodism had been first introduced to the region some 200 years before.

The districts comprising the new MCCA Conference were initially Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Panama and Costa Rica, and South Caribbean. In 1968, the Bahamas/Turks and Caicos district, which had an associate relationship, became a full member, and at the same time, Haiti was elevated from a subdistrict of the Jamaica district and given district status.

The Jamaica district's 'MCCA 50' commemorative service will incorporate its annual Aldersgate Rally, which harkens back to the evangelical conversion of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, at Aldergate, London, in May 1738. This year's mass rally will feature proclamations of the Word, confirmation of members from congregations throughout Jamaica, as well as stirring renditions from guest artiste Kevin Downswell and choirs drawn from the 171 Methodist churches and 27 circuits on the island.

One highlight of the event will be the launch of the annual Hugh Sherlock Lecture Series to be delivered in the course of this anniversary year. The first presenter will be the Reverend Dr Oral A.W. Thomas, acting president, United Theological College of the West Indies, who will address the Methodist Regional 'Connexion' in the context of nationalism and individualism.