Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Duxes, St. Catherine are now rejoicing that work on their church building (which started in 1982) is now complete and the building has been dedicated to the glory of God during a special service on Sunday, April 1, 2018.
The service of Dedication was conducted by leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist church from the Jamaica Union (JAMU) and Central Jamaica Conferences (CJC). Pastor Michael Henry, Education Director of JAMU cut the ribbons, while Pastor Nevail Barrett, Executive Secretary of CJC opened the main doors and declared the sanctuary ready for service.
Pastor Levi Johnson, president of CJC, during his address commended Pastor Scott and the church family for a job well done. Pastor Johnson said he was very impressed by the aesthetics of the church. “This is God’s house and we are His people”, said Jonson as he encouraged the Church family to remain committed to the mission.
Eunice March and Verna Brown unveiled the Baptistery as the dedication service continued with expressions in songs from the Duxes Syndicate Choir.
Pastor Michael Henry told the congregation, “This is a place of repentance, a place of restoration and a place where we come to God and He wipes our sins away”. Pastor Henry was the guest speaker for the service.
Pastors Levi Johnson and Billy Watson, Treasurer of CJC did the Act of Dedication while Pastor Nevail Barrett said the Dedicatory Prayer.
Michael James, First Elder of the Church for 16 years and one of the original builders, said that the completion of the church building is to him like “a parent seeing a child growing up from birth to being a mature and responsible adult”. He said though it was a challenging journey, the project brought the community and church members together. He pointed out that the building was financed almost entirely from the sacrificial giving of the members, locally and abroad. “Most of the members are small farmers who would plant crops and donate portions of the proceeds to the church”, James said.
Pastor Dwaine Scott, Pastor of the Duxes church, said, “I am particularly proud to be sharing in this moment with the brethren who managed to complete the journey debt free.” Pastor Scott added “Sacrificial giving of past and present members is responsible for financing the completion of the building”.
History of Duxes Church
The work of the Adventist Church in Duxes started July 16, 1925. This is the date when Nathan Thomas, founder of the Duxes church, was baptized after visiting a series of evangelistic meetings in the Duxes community held by evangelists from Clarendon. During the meetings, the evangelists were accommodated at the Thomas’ residence. After they left the community, meetings were held in the front room of Nathan Thomas’ home.
As the membership grew, Mr. Alexander Cole, a member of the church, erected a temporary bamboo structure at his home to host the worship services. The church grew rapidly and outgrew the bamboo structure. In response, Solomon Lewis donated land to the church. As a result, a larger, structure was erected using bamboo and a thatched roof. Later, in 1944, a more permanent structure was erected at the spot that is currently being used as the Duxes Basic School.
Early dynamic leadership came from Elders Carol Thomas, Roderick Thomas, Granville Parker, Lionel Parker, Edith Prince, Myrtle Newman, Lorna Nation and Sebert Dennis. Valuable service was given by Mrs. Viola Jones, who served as Secretary for the church. Membership grew to 25 in the 1940’s. To their credit, these persons were instrumental in establishing a branch Sabbath School in Pennington, which is now an organized Adventist church.
In those days, Pastor Harold Fletcher was the visiting pastor from East Jamaica Conference and was responsible for baptisms. He got strong support from Elder Nathan Thomas, Brother Edwards (Choir Director) and Brother Deidrick from Lluidas Vale.
In the 1970’s Viola Jones willed ½ acre property to the church—the current location that host the building. A ground-breaking ceremony was conducted in April 1982/83 by Pastor Morris Gray, with construction following shortly after. The Conference President was Pastor Cornelius Gray. The previous building was later sold to the church’s music director, Edith Prince, to continue the basic school that had started.
The new church building got underway and work was sustained by the sacrifices, monetary gifts and voluntary service of its members. The church also received support from members of the community who contributed to the block and tile drive efforts of the church.
By counsel from the Conference, a blueprint was done by Brother Dunkley of the St. John’s Church, while structural difficulties were overcome with help from Brother Gibson of the Irish Pen church. The major builders during this time were Sebert Dennis, Lloyd Lewis, Michael James, Peter Dennis, Lloyd Davis and Carl O’Conner.
A major milestone in the church’s history happened in 2005 when she helped to raise up the Bethel Company in the Garden Hill community under the leadership of Pastor Blondell Campbell.
The Duxes Church has roots planted in each community in Point Hill, St. Catherine and members of the community can testify that they have been impacted in some way through the various outreach programs of the church. Some of these outreach programmes include food supplies and breakfast distribution to the poor and needy, building and repairing houses for community persons, evangelistic programs, Angels Pathfinder Club, women’s fair, Banquets and socials.
Founding Members (who have died):
- Ivy Parker
- Estella Squire
- Gwendolyn Rhule
- Edith Prince
- Carol Josephine
- Henroy, Florence
- Roddrick Thomas
- Lloyd Lewis
- Sister Rob
- Sister Spence
- Sister Downey
- Eulah Douglas
Founding Members (who are still alive):
- Sebert and Hortez Dennis
- Ellen Pottinger
- Michael and Brenda James
- Theophilus and Charmaine Lennon
- Julia Davis
- Emmy Thomas
- Carlton Richards
- Carl O’Conner
- Nevil Tomlinson
- Roger Newman
Pastors who served (1982-2018):
- Pastors Morris Gray
- George McCallum
- Devon Champier
- Nathan Jackson
- Donovan Dacosta
- Mervin Ellis
- Blondel Campbell (and Aundrea Thompson)
- Romone Phoenix
- Delroy Clarke
- Lorenzo King
- Dwaine Scott (current)
Damian Chambers, CJC contributed to this article. Mrs. Brenda James and Sandra Carter wrote the History of the Church.
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