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91-year-old ‘church father’ recognized for his work during Father’s Day Appreciation Service

Published: 20-06-2019 |

The Irish Pen Seventh-day Adventist Church, Spanish Town, St. Catherine paid tribute to Elder Calvin Wilberforce Gibson (91) during a ‘Father’s Day’ service on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at the church.

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Elder Gibson and his wife Cynthia (front) are flanked by current and former Pastors of the Irish Pen Church. [IN PHOTO FROM LEFT] Lisa Bent- Dover, first elder Irish Pen SDA church, Pastors Levi Johnson, president of CJC (left), Everett Brown, president JAMU, Dwayne Scott (current Pastor of the Irish Pen Church), Everett Smith, director, publishing and community services CJC and Damian Chambers, director communication, health and ass. to the president for church growth, CJC. | Credits: Damian Chambers, CJC

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Elder Gibson (affectionately called Papa Lyn) was recognized for the role he played, not only in fathering his children but mentoring the youths of the 49-year-old congregation. He is one of the founding members and served as First Elder of the Irish Pen Church for many years.

Pastor Everett Brown, guest speaker for the Father’s Day Service, and current president of the Jamaica Union Conference had high praises for Elder Gibson.   

Pastor Brown said that as a young pastor, he benefited from the ministry and example of Elders like Elder Gibson. Pastor Brown was the pastor of the Irish Pen Church during the 90s.

“He is remembered as an outstanding teacher of the word,” said Pastor Brown. “He was not a ‘firebrand’ preacher but a seeker of truth; a deep teacher of the word.”

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Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Jamaica Union Conference gives a charge to the fathers at the Irish Pen Seventh-day Adventist Church during a Father's Day Appreciation Service. | Credits: Damian Chambers, CJC

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Pastor Brown also recognized Elder Gibson as one who “respected and loved his pastor.” “He will always call truth by its right name,” said the Union President, “but he will never be disrespectful to his pastor.”

Both Pastors Everett Brown and current president of Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) of Seventh-day Adventists, Levi Johnson expressed that Elder Gibson served as a spiritual advisor to them while serving as presidents of CJC.

Pastor Johnson (who has been serving CJC as president since 2011), in his tribute, shared that Elder Gibson would regularly visit the Conference Office at 58 Brunswick Avenue, to advise him on matters relating to governance and doctrine. “Elder Gibson helped to keep me straight,” said Pastor Johnson. “He would visit the office regularly to discuss matters relating to the running of the Conference.”

Tributes also came from two other former Pastors of the Irish Pen Church—Everett Smith, current Community Services and Publishing Director, CJC and Lorenzo King, who sent a written tribute. They remembered Elder Gibson as a committed and very supportive Elder.

Elder Fitz-Albert Brown, who represented an entourage from the Dover Seventh-day Adventist Church, Kitson Town, St. Catherine, said that Elder Gibson was a “man of God” who knew his Bible very well. He also acknowledged him as a very humble and “down-to-earth” individual.

There is a long-standing relationship between the Dover and Irish Pen Churches, going back to the 1970s, thanks to Elder Gibson. Elder Gibson helped to build up the spiritual life of the Dover church through regular visitation.

Video tributes were also presented from former members of the Irish Pen Church who currently live overseas. These members testified that Elder Gibson was like a father to them. “He was very strict. Though you would complain at the time, you now learn to appreciate what Elder Gibson was doing for us as young people,” said Andrea Smith, in her video tribute.

A citation was read and presented to Elder Gibson by Althea Smith, a longstanding member of Irish Pen church, who now attends the Braeton Church.

Charge to Fathers

During his charge to the fathers, guest speaker, Pastor Everett Brown said that despite the failures of some fathers, we should maintain a positive view of the role of fathers. “Fathers are called to be leaders in their homes,” said Brown. “God calls fathers to be an example to their sons and daughters.”

Profile of Calvin Gibson (Papa Lyn)

In 1974, Elder Calvin Gibson, originally from the North Street Seventh-day Adventist church, came to live at 16 Job’s Lane, Spanish Town, a few houses from Bro. Elgin Amos (now deceased) another stalwart of Irish Pen Church.

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Elder Gibson and his wife Cynthia cut the Father's Day cake prepared by the Irish Pen Church for the fathers. | Credits: Damian Chambers, CJC

Elder Gibson and Brother Amos worked together during an evangelistic meeting in the area, during which six persons were baptized.

These evangelistic series were the first efforts that initiated the start of the now Irish Pen Church. Elder Gibson later became the first appointed Elder, a position he held for 14 subsequent years.

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