KINGSTON, JAMAICA (March 12, 2012) – The Evangelical Covenant Church of Jamaica will celebrate its formal organization and recognition by the government May 31- June 3 in Kingston.
Donn Engebretson, executive vice president of the Evangelical Covenant Church, will preach during the opening service.
The immigration of a Jamaican who was not a Christian at the time has ultimately led to formation of the denomination. Winston Williams came to the United States to work in the cruise ship business. He became a Christian while working aboard one of the ships.
Soon afterwards, he and his wife began a ministry in Miami that grew to be Faith Christian Center. It later became an Evangelical Covenant Church congregation.
Williams returned frequently to Jamaica to minister in his native country. A man who came to faith through Williams’ ministry introduced him to minister Courtney Burnett. He soon was given a charge to develop Jamaican ministries.
Under his leadership, the ministry has grown to five congregations in the Kingston area. Burnett and Williams spearheaded the dialogue that led to the establishment of the Covenant Church of Jamaica.
The core ministries of the Jamaican congregations are focused on evangelistic outreach by means of campaigns, street meetings and vibrant worship, says David Mark, regional coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. “These churches clearly communicate well in the common language of the people. Their worship music, with its Jamaican rhythms and style, finds a rich echo in the people’s hearts.”
In addition to evangelistic outreach, the congregations are responding actively to community needs. Congregations have ministries that include feeding, reading, and sewing programs.
Mark notes that most church members live in low-income areas, but still reach out generously to their neighbors. “They are ‘salt of the earth’ people,” Mark says.