Caribbean Conference of Seventh-Day Christians
(Formerly Jamaica Mission of Seventh-Day Christians)
On May 7, 1952 the first delegation (Elder Philip J. Bailey, Sr. and Elder E. Leo Warren) from the Seventh-Day Christian Conference arrived in Kingston, Jamaica. During the course of the week several meetings were held with representatives of various Sabbath Keeping groups which included Pastor E. E. McLaughlin, Elder M. Forbes and Elder M. Hynes a former S. D. Adventist.
The first service was held at Sister Burton’s place 26 Studley Park Road. On Sabbath, May 10 the delegation visited a group in Bull Bay. The structure was a shed made of wattle walls and coconut leaves for roof. The storm of the previous August had destroyed whatever structure they had. The leader Elder Jarrett was very impressive and prospect for the work in Bull Bay was favourable.
On May 11, 1952 the group visited Mr. Hall, the owner of the land, with a view to purchase the property he had leased them to build the shed, he would not sell.
During the course of the week they visited several Ministers including Elder Ellis, Kelly, Fullerton, Davis and Rhoden from the Seventh Day Church of God and Elder Walters the President of Western Jamaica Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Discussions were held on doctrines – particularly on tithing and baptizing in Jesus’ name. Everyone professed to believe in tithing. The other topics brought a long discussion.
The delegation attracted a number of laypersons from various groups and several meetings were held with them. There was a need to find someone who was capable to be the Superintendent of the work in Jamaica. A meeting to lay down principles of the organization, to share the order of services and to appoint officers to lead the work was held at Dr. Stephenson’s home. Elder Bailey led the meeting and expressed the danger of working up ecstatic emotions and excitement.
On May 20 an appointment was made with Attorneys-at-law, Desnoes & Lyons of 36 Duke Street to retain their services in guiding the team on how to set up the organization in Jamaica. Attorney Lyons gave information on appointment of Marriage Officers by the governor, organization of the work, the effect of operating without incorporation and possible methods that could be used to secure recognition for the importation of used clothing duty free.
A draft of a Resolution forming the Jamaica Mission of Seventh-Day Christians was done. It contained nine paragraphs plus the preamble setting up the Mission and naming its officers and Executive Committee. Affirmation of the officers was made at a meeting held on the evening of May 20, 1952.
On May 21 the Resolution was prepared as a document and presented to the Attorneys, the Secretary of the Jamaica Mission and a copy for the Seventh-Day Christian Conference. That evening they attended the ordination of Elder Jarrett and send-off program for the foreign delegation.
May 22 they again met with the lawyers who affixed the affirming statement to the Resolution and wrote to the Conference requesting a certified copy of their Certificate of Incorporation.
On May 23 the delegation left for New York en route Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Island.
The Mission in its Infancy
During the early years after the establishment of the mission the work continued on a temporary basis through limited terms of rental of Secondary School rooms at 59 Church Street, Kingston then Little North Street and Stephen Street, in Allman Town.
Branches outside the corporate area were located in Bull Bay, St. Andrew and Hempstead in St. Mary, which was pastored by Elder Jarrett. Due to doctrinal dispute his relationship with the Conference was severed and the church also went with him. Prior to this, several efforts were made to extend the work to other parts of the island but some failed to materialize.
The first pastor of the church in Kingston was Pastor Charles S. Davis and upon his death Brother S.S. Rhoden carried on the work. In July 1954 Elder Maurice N.M. Forbes was ordained a Minister of the Conference but worked in his birthplace Marley Hill, Manchester.
During this time the church suffered many adversities but there were still bright prospects of better days to come. At that time constant support was given by the Conference and Elder Hubert A. Gauntlett, Field Organizer made frequent visits to Jamaica.
In 1956 Pastor Vernon G. Faulknor became affiliated with the Seventh-Day Christian Conference and the work began to grow. Coupled with his strong zest and the determination of Brother Gauntlett success was made later in the acquisition of land now known as 67c Waltham Park Road, Kingston 11 on which the headquarters was built and served to house the Berea Church.
On Sunday, June 7, 1964 in the presence of a large gathering the cornerstone was laid and on Sunday, August 9, 1964 in the presence of a delegation from the parent body in New York led by the then President, the late Pastor, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries the structure was dedicated. Pastor Soaries was the speaker at the dedicatory service. Since that time the work has been supervised and administered by a local Executive Board.
In 1999 the Mission Board applied to the Registrar of Companies for a change of name while the process of autonomy status was being considered by the Seventh-Day Christian Conference. Then the new name Caribbean Conference of Seventh-Day Christians was applied in the year 2000. On a two-year periodic basis the Caribbean Conference gradually became autonomous and received full autonomy status in the 2004 Convention held in New York.
The Conference now comprise of five (5) local churches namely,
- Berea Seventh-Day Christian Church – Kingston,
- 1st Seventh-Day Christian Church of Lower Buxton – St. Ann
- Line Tree SDCC – St. Andrew
- Portmore Seventh-Day Christian Church
- Lighthouse (Seventh-Day Christian Church formerly Pental Vale) – Bull Bay, St. Thomas.