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Valiant and Victorious: The Church at Johns Hall, Manchester


Published: 31-05-2022 |


Excitedly, some 200 attendees convened on-site and online, on the afternoon of Sunday, May 29, 2022, to dedicate to the glory of God the Seventh-day Adventist Church at Johns Hall, Manchester.

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View of the congregation in attendance at the Johns Hall SDA Church Dedication | Credits: Andrew Johnson

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Even with this grand accomplishment, Church Pastor, Joel J. Shillingford, remains humble, giving all the glory to God for the magnificent milestone. Said Pastor Shillingford, "I have learned many lessons and gained much insight through the journey to church dedication. I thank God! Our task is not finished … In the end, we will have said like the Prophet Samuel, 'Hitherto the Lord has helped us,'" - quoting the theme for the event.

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Pastor Joel Shillingford, Pastor, Mile Gully District of Seventh-day Adventist Churches | Credits: Andrew Johnson

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Pastor Shillingford also expressed heartfelt appreciation for the hardworking task force:  Church officers and members, volunteers, artisans, and donors for their prayers and sacrificial contributions.

Meanwhile, First Elder, Errol Palmer, was quick to declare the church’s mission: “Going out full-force to rescue the perishing.” “I know God is pleased with us,” he said. The “tired but joyful” Elder Palmer also commented that the work was not complete and said that he foresaw ongoing efforts to improve on what now exists. Elder Steve Palmer also spoke passionately about the sacrifice and dedication of the members. His mother and oldest Johns Hall member, eighty-five-year-old Linda Palmer, emphatically expressed her happiness and satisfaction with the achievement. Church Clerk and Community Services Leader, Beverley Bennett, said she was anticipating going out into the communities and bringing in more souls.

The occasion was attended by members from the Mile Gully District of SDA Churches; the wider community, including community churches; the Diaspora; and guests from across Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) of Seventh-day Adventists.

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View of the congregation in attendance at the Johns Hall SDA Church Dedication | Credits: Andrew Johnson

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The event was also supported by political representatives from both sides of the Jamaican government.

Treasurer of the Jamaica Union Conference, Pastor Adlai Blythe, was tasked with the Dedicatory Sermon. In a spirited presentation of motivating scriptural and hymnal references, Pastor Blythe urged the congregation to move forward in faith, even amid evil reports. “Don’t pay attention to the naysayers!” said Pastor Blythe.

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Pastor Adlai Blythe, Treasurer, Jamaica Union Conference | Credits: Andrew Johnson

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Also officiating at the Dedication Service were Pastor Nevail Barrett, CJC President; Pastor Howard Grant Langley, Executive Secretary; and Pastor Billy Watson, Treasurer. President Barrett, in his congratulatory comments, urged the membership to be a strong and positive influence in their community.

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Pastor Nevail Barrett, President, Central Jamaica Conference | Credits: Andrew Johnson

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In the Act of Dedication, he was delighted to pronounce Johns Hall “the newest dedicated church in the history of Central Jamaica Conference, on this the twenty-ninth day of May, in the Year of our Lord, two thousand and twenty-two.”  Pastor Howard Grant Langley offered the Dedicatory Prayer.

The ceremonial cutting of ribbons, opening of windows and doors, thanksgiving offerings and tributes, and rich gospel singing from the church choir and congregation helped to carry the two-and-a-half-hour service from its welcoming start at 3:30 pm to a glorious finish.

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Pastor Adlai Blythe (L) and Pastor Nevail Barrett (R) cut the ceremonial ribbon during the Church Dedication of the Johns Hall SDA Church | Credits: Andrew Johnson

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The accolades for Johns Hall were many. Mrs. Zena Palmer, a community member since 1957, said how grateful she was for the opportunity to support the church’s programs. Her son, Wayne Palmer, recalling his baptism at Johns hall in 1972, expressed his gratitude for the great achievement and stated that it placed the church in a position for growth, numerically and spiritually.

The 70-year-old church was born in August 1951 in Maidstone, a half-mile away from its present location. Johns Hall is one of five churches in the Mile Gully District. Elder Nicola Palmer, representing the Mile Gully Mother Church, said the occasion gave hope, and pronounced that God is able to do what He has promised if we stick to the task.

The 78x49 sq ft building is elegantly poised upon a plateau of the Don Figueroa. With the main sanctuary, it also boasts a baptistery, children’s quarter, vestry, kitchen, rest rooms, wings, and portico. Glowing in the beauty of her 18 rose windows and doorway panels of cedar, there she stands: 163 members strong, and ready for the increase.

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External view of the Johns Hall Seventh-day Adventist, Manchester | Credits: Andrew Johnson

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