Approximately 27 kilometers, south-west of the City of Montego Bay is the quiet, slow-paced neighbourhood of Tangle River in St James. In the heart of the community lies a congregation of close to 15 Seventh-day Adventist members, who continue to preach the gospel in this rural district. They are seeking to sustain this presence, despite a declining membership, with the assistance of sister congregations and through community outreach.
On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, representatives from the different churches in the Welcome Hall District of Churches--which includes Tangle River and the Flamstead Gardens Church from the Vaughansfield District of Churches, along with the willing support of a few Government agencies hosted an education exposition at the site of the “Christ is the Answer” Gospel Campaign, in Tangle River.
The expo was combined with the evangelistic meetings to extend the impact of the preaching of the gospel in the area and to continue the effort of the local church on its path to greater community involvement.
“It was a good day” said Elder Carol McCallum, the chief coordinator of the program, "the turn out could have been better, but given that it is the first program of this kind, that we are hosting in the community, I am satisfied" she continued to explain.
"The idea came to me from a community member that I was working with" continued Sis McCallum, who is also a Bible Worker in the evangelistic series "I was speaking to the individual and the person told me about a need and I thought that if we organize this program, it would address the need, because the best way to help is to get people informed. The people of the community would want more programs like these" said the Elder as she ended.
The community members were certainly happy for the event and would welcome a more frequent staging of such.
“I think this should happen every other month” exclaimed Roslyn Perkins, a community member who also brought along her children to benefit from the relevant aspects of the program.
This initiative has gotten the support and attention of the Pastor, who was on location, and he is excited about the possibilities.
“The membership has been reducing constantly” said Pastor Wilton Bygrave, of the Tangle River Church “However, we are not discouraged, we have instituted an intense prayer ministry in the church...to intercede on behalf of the members of the community” he added.
Pastor Bygrave continued to explain, that most of the membership are from outside the area, as far as Montego Bay, and that poses a challenge to the sustainability of the local attendance. To deal with that issue the church has implemented programs to address it, with the hope of increasing local worshipers.
"We have instituted some social outreach activities" he continued explain, "we give community members gift baskets and also serve hot meals every week." In addition to these ongoing activities, Pastor went on to note that the church conducted a health fair earlier in the year, July 29, in an effort to connect with the community members. This event provided assistance for persons with eye problems and other medical needs with the expertise of ophthalmologists and other medical practitioners.
Noting the impact of these types of initiatives, Pastor Bygrave acknowledges the positive outlook of the community toward the church. "It is changing the face of the church in the community and they are feeling the church in a more tangible way" he noted. He also went on to speak of the support that the Sunderland members have been extending to the Tangle River Church in reaching the community, through street meetings on select Sabbaths.
Some of the entities on location for the day were the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which received applications and promoted the PATHE Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education programme. The Education Department of the West Jamaica Conference was also present along with HEART Trust/NTA.
Tangle River, Sunderland, Welcome Hall, Carlton and Laden Mount currently make up the Welcome Hall District of Seventh-day Adventist Churches. The evangelistic meetings started on Sabbath, August 18, 2018 and will continue for at least four weeks with Pastor Norman Thompson, the Family Ministries Director of the Conference as the evangelist.comments powered by Disqus