The dynamic churchman
Lloyd Augustus George Cooke, who now resides in Manchester, is well known in certain circles as a religion historian, but he is much more than that. He, himself, has had a busy and interesting life as a missionary, a minister of the Gospel, and a Christian Brethren, among other things, and all of that started on May 27, 1942 in Browns Hall, St Catherine.
He was the second child and first son of Murdella A. Prince-Cooke, and Almerick Constantine Cooke, a pharmacist and Anglican minister of religion. There would be four more sons, and one more daughter for the couple.
After attending two elementary schools, Cooke moved on to Kingston College, to Titchfield High School in Portland, and ended up at St James’ Cornwall College from 1957-1960. But, why was he hopping from school to school? His father’s work as an Anglican minister took him all over.
After high school, Cooke worked for a few years in the Jamaica Civil Service, specifically in the Revenue Department in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, and Montego Bay, St James, and with the Customs Department at downtown Kingston. In 1963, he was back in school, this time at Jamaica Bible College and Community Institute, and graduated in 1967 with a diploma in theology.
With that diploma, Cooke journeyed to the Missionary Training Centre in Alexandria, St Ann, in 1968. After that, he flew to Dominica in the eastern Caribbean with a certificate in evangelism and fitness as a full-time missionary from 1969-1971. He had already gone to Dominica three times when he was in Bible school. As fate would have it, he was back in St Ann at the Missionary Training Centre, this time as its principal from 1971-1978.
Cooke entered the doors of Wheaton College in Illinois, USA, in 1978, but left for personal reasons without his degree. He was able to complete his Bachelor of Human Resource Management degree at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, through its Miami, Florida campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Cooke was to return to Jamaica Bible College, now Regent College of the Caribbean, where he is sometime adjunct theology lecturer. From 2000 to 2020 he lectured Caribbean church history at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology in St Andrew, Jamaica, and in 2018 it conferred upon him the Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa).
Yet, it was not all about the Bible, religion, missions and church for this dynamic and versatile man of God. For, Cooke also had training in pest control in 1978, and worked as a salesman for Orkin Pest Control and Truly Nolen Pest Control in Florida, where he was a part-time life assurance and health insurance salesman in 1982. From 1980 to 1999 he worked as a real estate agent in Florida, and in Jamaica from 2001 to 2006.
For his hard work Cooke has been recognised with a certificate by Telesystems of South Florida as ‘Employee of the Month’ in 1992 in the capacity as warehouse manager, and with a certificate of appreciation from the Miami Gospel Chapel for 21 years (1978-1999) of service. The Jamaica Bible College and Community Institute, in 2006, showed him appreciation for “faithful service to the Christian community in the area of missions”, and in 2010 they recognised his “faithful and consistent support” as a past student.
Currently, Cooke is an adjunct professor of church missions, comparative religions, church history and evangelism at Regent College of the Caribbean, and a missionary with Harvest International Inc of Ocala, Florida, USA. He is also engaged as a minister of the Gospel, “helping churches grow through evangelism and church-growth seminars”.
Cooke is the father of two daughters from his first marriage to Marva Johnson. One is a doctor of psychology living in Abu Dhabi, while the other is a physician’s assistant in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. He is currently married to Elaine Huie.
In Part 2, Family and Religions explores Lloyd A. Cooke, the missionary.