WITHORN’S TABERNACLE HISTORY
They say it is not polite to eavesdrop but in the case of the events that follow something good did come from these nosy parkers. It so happened that Deacon Joseph Palmer (then a brother) along with St. Evangeline Davis were sharing the gospel with someone when along came Mrs. Walker and son Sebastian Forbes (from Westmoreland) listening in on the conversation. Not wanting their deeds to be obvious waited until the conversation was finished and expressed their interest in this mysterious gospel and the rest is history…
For a number of years approximately 6 saints (including nosy parkers) were traveling from Westmoreland to services in Orange District, (tabernacle number 11, Montego Bay) St. James. Traveling at this distance can become quite taxing on one’s body and costly on the pocket. Yet still the saints struggled and attended services. Seeing the plight of these faithful saints and having heard of their testimonies how they were spreading the gospel and people were being very receptive, Evangelist Wesley Grant thought it prudent to test the waters. So for a couple of Sundays, the ministers and saints would go to Withorn in Westmoreland from house to house spreading the gospel. At one point they tried erecting a building on a piece of land that was loaned to them but that was not what God had in store. Again they searched and alas found an old church building already painted in blue and brown! Surely they thought this was it. Evangelist Grant had left Elder Duwhayne Elliott (then Deacon) in charge of the field (while overseas) and he invited Bishop Albert Hall (then Evangelist-at-large) to the first, second day evening service in the building and what a time the saints had! The sweet victory was short lived when the owners of the building said they could no longer use the facilities and we were back at square one. Again the saints had to travel to Montego Bay for services.
A few years passed and St. Pamela Haughton and family moved to the Withorn, Westmoreland. She too began spreading the gospel and would invite visitors to church in Orange. Again this was very costly and strenuous on the saints and visitors. Deacon Elliott and Evangelist Grant were always in discussions to devise ways and means of establishing the field there. Deacon Elliott volunteered to visit with the saints there on Sabbaths and hold meetings with them in their homes while going from house to house to share the gospel. Evangelist agreed and on Sebat 21, 2008 Deacon Elliott, Deacon Rohan Danville, St. Shadain and St. Shantaul Simpson (siblings), St. Phyllis Martin and children saints Camiel Robertson and Leonardo Martin held services in the home of Sis Haughton. She immediately returned to the faith and two visitors took the mercy seat also that day.
During the recess hour Deacon Elliott along with St. Shadain, St. Camiel and Sis Haughton went to visit her friends the Blacks a few miles away. Deacon shared the word of God with them and that day six souls took the mercy seat.
Seeing how many souls were there who wanted to become a part of the church it was now time to seek a place of worship. A piece of leased land in Petersfield was sought but was not feasible at the time. Some of the candidates and the children and grandchildren who were blessed were from the Black’s family and they came up with the idea of loaning us the front frame of a house that belonged to Miss Yvette Black. We were thrilled and thankful to God that he had opened up this door unto us and so we began to hold Sabbath services there. Although we were grateful, we knew we could not stay there for long, besides it was not big enough to hold the growing number.
Discussions continued as to where we could get a piece of land to erect a building. The Lord put it into Mr. Black (head of his family) to offer us a little piece of land at the same area. Now the Home and Foreign Mission, Jamaica had previously procured some tents for another project, this was just what was needed. So now they had land and a tent and are able to hold beginning of Sabbath service as well as on the daylight.
Since then forty one souls have been added to the kingdom. Eight were transferred from Tabernacle number eleven, Montego Bay. We have since been blessed to have with us Bishop Albert Everton Hall, Executive Officer of the West Indian and Caribbean Diocese and also Evangelist-at-Large George Whyte. The baton was passed on to St. Sebastian Forbes to watch over the saints and the field there being that he was living in the same area and would be more accessible to the saints.
St. Sebastian Forbes carried out his duties without fail for more than a year before passing the banner to Deacon Joseph Palmer who was appointed the interim pastor on Thamuz 11, 2010 at the General Assembly by Bishop Hall. That same day the field was made a tabernacle and given the number fifteen. Deacon Palmer was elevated to the office of an Elder on Abib 16th, 2012 and made pastor of this budding vineyard. To God be the glory, great things he has done!
The first 3 singers to be called to the choir were: St. Andrew and St. Oshine Gooden and St. Sabrina Walker.
Other appointments to date are as follows:
Church Trustees, chorister, shepherd boy, secretary, choir members, Sabbath school superintendent and teachers. To date there are 9 and 40 members, 8 candidates and those who visits regularly. No one knows what God has in store and so we continue to look to Him to use us to do His will.