The Spalding Seventh-day Adventist church building was dedicated to the glory of God on Sunday, December 16, 2018 during a special service of dedication. This service was part of a weekend of activities where the church celebrated their 40th anniversary under the theme, “Rekindling the flame, Renewing the Vision”.
The service of dedication was conducted by leaders of the Jamaica Union and Central Jamaica Conferences.
Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Jamaica Union who presented the dedication sermon said, “We are God’s building. One day God will finish His work in us.”
“It would be a waste for us to invest much in this building; yet lose out on salvation in the end. Christ gave His life for people not building”, said Pastor Brown.
Pastor Brown also charged the members to ensure that the church is used to impact the community. He said, “We must use this building to draw people closer to God; not push them away. People are more important than this building. Use this building to call me and women to righteousness”, said Brown.
Central Jamaica Conference President, Pastor Levi Johnson, during his greetings, said that while many worked hard to complete the building, once the act of dedication is done, the building belongs to God and must be used for His glory.
Pastor Kevin Murray, pastor of the Spalding district since August 2017, said that one of the first thing he did when he became the pastor of the church was to present to the church board a plan to complete the church building. Pastor Murray said that many doubted that this was possible, but he was determined, with the help of the Lord, to complete the building.
The prayer of dedication was done by Central Jamaica Conference Secretary, Pastor Nevail Barrett.
History of the Spalding Seventh-day Adventist Church
Divine inspiration was certainly at work some forty (40) years ago when a compelling need emerged for a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Spalding, Clarendon. This need was created as a result of the diminished light of the then White Shop Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Members of the church in the area had to travel to Christiana or Mizpah on Sabbaths in order to worship. Consequently, a group led by Pastors Robert Kennedy, Lyn, Maragh, Vincent Lawrence, Bowen and Dudley Dixon; along with a group of neighbouring churches commissioned by the Holy Spirit launched an evangelistic series at the Duhaney Common in Spalding during the month of March 1978.
The speaker for the evangelistic series was Pastor Robert Kennedy. As a result of his witness numerous souls were won for Christ; thus, creating a need for a place of worship. A desperate search began for a plot of land led a team to the Gabbadon's residence. The Gabbidon's were convinced by the Holy Spirit to offer the current plot of land for the erection of a humble house of worship.
Since many churches were involved in the effort, the new converts were distributed accordingly. The "little flock" remaining at Spalding was led by Pastor Vincent Lawrence and Mrs. Lawrence with Neville Thompson serving as Elder. The team played a critical role in educating and mentoring the flock; Mrs. Lawrence was instrumental in teaching hymns from the Church Hymnal, as well as the preparation of healthy and delicious vegetarian dishes.
As the years went by, the church grew, and the building aged. Our little church rose right up from the sidewalk, standing in a street of neighbouring houses, it alone had no yard in the front, any tree or flower bed. It was a plain framed, building made of wood and zinc covered with rust. It had five doors, and no porch anyway. It had four white aluminium windows which were not new as the paint was stripping with green coloured morass.
The walls inside were not overlaid, they were just plain zinc and wood nailed together to shelter us from the elements. We had no proper chairs or benches. What we had were “Bend back” stretches of plant nailed together in quarters separating the classes. To get to a seat we had to step over the edges to get into a space. For the flooring we had green coloured concrete floor which the members managed to clean with Genie Floor polish, coconut brush and old rags to make it shine. We had one little square table and a slender vase with beautiful flowers each Sabbath morning. An old organ sat in one corner at the front of the church which complimented our singing.
Thus, the need arose for a more suitable and permanent structure. On December 15, 1996 the church led by Pastor Desmond Robinson and Elder Kenneth Vincent broke ground for the commencement of a permanent edifice. The members rallied together and supplied labour, funding, food, materials and advice. The task of building was carried out mainly in the nights and on Sundays. The non-Adventist community members also joined with the church to put up a building from which we could worship, and they must be commended for their sacrificial service.
We must say that this was not an easy feat, we encountered many challenges and even opposition. However, after much fasting and prayer, and sacrifice, God's church prevailed, and we have today a structure suitable to be dedicated to the Lord. Apart from spiritual blessings experienced by the members, we were also blessed financially. The limited space around the Church became inadequate for parking, and more so, on special days, and events. The land adjoining the Church was acquired through a loan and was substantially funded by a generous donor to whom we are very thankful.
Spalding helped to raise up other churches
In 1999, the White Shop Church was re-organized under the leadership of Pastor Dudley Hosin and Elder Heron Carnegie. September 26, 2000 Pastor Dudley Hosin also officiated at the stone laying ceremony at Spalding.
In the wintry months of 2005, Elder Anthony Gordon and Mrs. Gordon commenced the “Bonding of the Hearts for Home” family Life Seminar. This marked a memorable occasion for the Gordon’s where they motivated, inspired, counselled, educated and bonded hearts to each other and to the Lord. Despite the cold weather, the canvas cathedral was filled nightly.
The church continued its outreach activities and in April 2010, Pastor John Hacker and Evangelist Thomas (Hurricane) Bryan launched an evangelistic series in Alston under the theme “The Way of the Cross”. The crop was bountiful but created a need for a lighthouse in the Alston community. Land was acquired in 2010 and a temporary structure was erected. In 2012 the Alston company was formerly organized into a church.
September 12, 2015 Pastor Wilton McKoy was installed in the Spalding District of Seventh-day Adventists Churches. He launched an evangelistic series in Aenon Town 2016. This led to the re-organization of the Aenon Town SDA Church and was return to the Spalding District of Churches. Shortly thereafter a new church building started and is currently a Work- in- Progress.
Our current Pastor, Kevin Murray, who came to us on July 22, 2017, at his first Board meeting expressed the desire to complete and dedicate the church to the glory of God by December 2018; and as such encouraged the members to work towards achieving this goal. This was made possible by a loan from the Jamaica Union of Seventh-day Adventist Revolving fund, and the generosity of its members. The task of completing the church was undertaken by Elder Kevin Reid and his team from the church which included: Brothers: Winston Johnson, Miguel Cross, Rowland Cross, Bro Garfield Cooke, Alfanso Lovelace and Brandon McDonald.
The members of the Church continued to work for the master. We currently operate an evening institute under the leadership of Sis Dianne McKenzie and Elder Dawn Goode. The nurturing and mentoring of the new members is a feature of the church as well as the other churches in the district. Vacation Bible School is an important event on our church’s calendar of events. This was instituted in 1985 by Sis Ivy Holmes, wife of our former Pastor Howard Holmes. Elder Maurice Allen was the first product of this VBS who later brought his mother and siblings to the Lord.
Organization and leadership of the church was made possible due to outstanding and dedicated service of the following foundation members, some of whom have left us over the year:
Mable Kerr, Ruth Ann Dwyer, Mavis Thomas, Neville Thompson, Enid Lewis, Willie Forbes, Carmen Russell, Melvalin Jennings-Forbes, Dawn Goode, Elaine Freckleton, Vivian and Sonia Robinson, Jean and Deletha Nisbeth, May Green, Cleveland and A. Dixon, Advira Davy, Jennifer Allen, Clevette Steadford-Vincent; just to name a few.
The Pastors who have served the Spalding Seventh-day Adventist Church since its inception are:
Vincent Lawrence John Hacker
David Rogers Donald Francis
Howard Holmes Philbert Rowe (interim)
Roosevelt Marsden Leighton Hines (Intern)
Nathan Jackson Wilton McKoy
Donhue Gordon Kemar Lewis (Intern)
Desmond Robinson Kevin Murray (Current)
The First Elders who have served the Spalding S.D.A. church since its inception include:
Kevin Reid (Current)
Today the church membership stands at 359. It is currently being led by Pastor Kevin Murray, assisted by Brothers: Kevin Reid, C Smith, W. Forbes, G. Smith, M. Allen, D. Hamm, and Sis. D. Goode serving as Elders.
Today we lift our hearts in total gratitude to God for His enabling and blessings – “not of ourselves lest any man should boast…,” but praise to God from whom all blessings flow.
Surely, surely God deserves our gratitude and our praise.