Eleven persons from eight churches in the Kingston and Mandeville Regions were commissioned and licensed as Associate Evangelists of the Church Army at a Service held on Sunday, November 16 at the Cathedral of St. Jago de la Vega, Spanish Town.
This historic Service was well attended by families and well-wishers, especially from the home churches of the new Associate Evangelists. The Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory, presided at the Service and was also the Homilist.
In his Sermon, Bishop Gregory outlined the critical importance of mission and evangelism to the ongoing work of our Diocese. He noted that many persons believed that evangelism targeted only individuals outside of the Church, winning them for Christ and boosting the size of congregations. However, he said evangelism must also serve “as a wake-up call for those who claim Jesus as Lord and Saviour.” Using Ephesians 4:1-13 as his text, Bishop Gregory said the focus of the apostle Paul in this passage was not numerical increase, but unity, growth and maturity of the body of Christ.
He stated that conversion was only possible “When the Church is a radiant manifestation of the Christian life… We have to start looking within… and ask what is wrong in here,” the Lord Bishop asserted. He charged the new Associate Evangelists to be energetic and forthright in their assignments; but he also noted that members of the Diocese had a role to play in ensuring their effectiveness. “We’re all called to fulfill a ministry in the community of faith, working together …until we can achieve a unity in Christ,” Bishop Gregory said.
Sister Phyllis Thomas, Head of the Church Army, presented the Candidates to be commissioned and licensed. They include: Flo Angus of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Marverley; Stephanie Barrett of St. Paul’s Church, Chapelton; Ranford Campbell of St. Michael’s Church, Mavis Bank; Thera Edwards of the University Chapel, Mona; Agnes Hall and Clarence Hall of St. Mark’s Church, Mandeville; Marcia Hamilton of St. Luke’s Church, Cross Roads; Carol Howard of Holy Trinity Church, Linstead; Claudette Marshall of St. Luke’s Church, Cross Roads; Suzanne Shirley-Newnham of the University Chapel, Mona; and Colleen Tinker-Whyte of St. Paul’s Mission, Greater Portmore.
This is the first batch of Associate Evangelists in the Church Army whose members support evangelistic missions across the island, provide chaplaincy in hospitals and schools and serve as social workers. As in the case of Supplementary Ministers, the Associate Evangelists will be attached to their respective churches.