The Savannah Seventh-day Adventist Church, located in the Linstead, St. Catherine area, is organized as the 200th church in Central Jamaica Conference with 45 members. The service of organization took place on Sabbath, December 29, 2019.
Pastor Levi Johnson, president of CJC made the announcement to the newly voted members of the church as he conducted the service of organization. Pastor Johnson said that though there are over 220 congregations in the Conference, there are only 200 officially organized churches.
He said that the members of Savannah should be proud of the fact and should always remember that they are the 200th church within the Conference.
The service of organization was attended by members of the churches within the Linstead District of churches, including Linstead, Wakefield, Banbury and Rose Hall. Each of the Elders from these sister churches greeted the congregation and congratulated the Savannah church on their organization.
Elder Frederick Lewis, first Elder of the Wakefield church, shared that Savannah is very dear to him. He said that the first efforts to establish a church in Savannah took place 6 years earlier during an evangelistic series that was conducted by Evangelist Doreen Parbarue.
During that series, 12 persons were baptized and a group of 7 persons began worshipping in the Savannah community to form a Branch Sabbath School.
Wakefield is the church responsible for helping to raise up the Savannah congregation.
According to Elder W. Goulbourne, who presented the history of the church during the service of organization, “the plan was to make request to the Conference to establish the group as a Company.” However, he said that, the church pastor, Dr. Kemar Douglas returned with the good news, that instead of being a Company, they would be organized as a church.
During the service, Pastor Billy Watson, Conference treasurer presented an overview of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to the congregation and Pastor Damian Chambers, Communication Director of CJC, did the prayer of dedication.
At the close of the service of organization, members of the church showed appreciation to two outstanding leaders who gave longstanding and outstanding services to the Wakefield and Savannah churches. Elders Frederick Lewis and Sheren Thorpe, church treasurer for Wakefield, were recognized for their outstanding contributions, not only towards the organization of Savannah, but for the completion of the Wakefield church building.
Dedication for the Wakefield church was planned for the following day after the Savannah church organization on Sunday, December 30, 2018.
Both Elders Lewis and Thorpe were presented with a blown-up, framed picture of the Wakefield Church building.
History of Savannah Church (As presented during the service of organization)
Six years ago, the members of the board of the Wakefield Seventh-day Adventist Church took the decision to enter the Savannah community with the gospel, based on the need that they saw.
2012: It was decided that the Linstead District of Churches would host an evangelistic series in Wakefield, Savannah. A four-week series was held in April 2012 with the electrifying evangelist, Doreen Parbarue as the speaker. At the end of the series twelve persons were baptized. Five of those members went to Wakefield church, the others stayed in Savannah.
It was then decided that a branch Sabbath should be established in the community. The Sabbath School was held on the playfield where the evangelistic series was held. The Sabbath school started out with twenty-five adults plus children. The elders in charge were Elder W. Goulbourne and Elder Wilford Stephenson.
On October 24, 2012, Category 1 hurricane Sandy destroyed the canvas that provided covering for where the brethren worshipped. The faithful bunch were not daunted by this occurrence and they started to conduct services at one of the members’ home. It was then that Elder R. Robinson decided to help strengthen the leadership in Savannah. The membership grew to 31.
2013: The members were able to lease a nearby piece of land in February 2013. The congregation moved to their new home, with the kind assistance of Miss Harrison. Elders Lewis and Thorpe who served as ‘architects, engineering designers and contactors’ along with other elders and brethren came in their numbers, with their tools, to build the Savannah Sabbath School building.
Early each Sunday morning the members worked on the building, while some of the women served meals. It was days of fun, laughter, and joy as they worked together to build. Even though the Wakefield church was not in such a wonderful condition, the brethren still gave of their time to the Savannah building.
2014: September 13, 2014 the church moved from under the canvas to their new board structure. God blessed the effort of the brethren, and the two churches kept on growing.
Many elders from other churches in the district were encouraged to assist with this new congregation, including elders M. Robinson, C. Gentles, W. Stepension, Grant and Lightbody.
2018: On August 1, 2018, the Lord sent a new Pastor, Pastor Kemar Douglas who had an epiphany, which he shared with the Conference President; that while Wakefield Church is being dedicated, the Savannah Sabbath school will be organized into a company. The pastor came back with further good news; the Sabbath School is to be organized into a church on December 29, 2018 instead. This was communicated during a preach-a-ton evangelistic service which was held in Savanah which saw eight precious souls coming to the Lord.
As we look forward to the second coming of our Lord, we are resolute to spread the gospel in this part of the vineyard.