Liele had a reputation of being able to work with people who themselves had conflicting goals, Driggers said. He just had a way about him, winning people's confidence, and they would trust him," Driggers said. Theologically, very conservative. He was smart.
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And he had a reputation of being able to work with folks. Liele's history attracted the attention of theologian and pastor David T. Shannon Sr. Included were pastors, theologians, historians, authors, teachers, attorneys and a Liele descendant. I think they should call him the baptizer," said Erskine, professor of theology and ethics at Emory University's Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.
He jumps off the boat and he baptizes people and he jumps back on. And what a phenomenon that must have been for enslaved Africans, for the first time in their lives, to see a fellow African preaching the Gospel. He preached on Romans , 'Brethren my heart's desire for Israel is they may be saved,' Erskine paraphrased.
And he ended up in jail And the covenant says clearly there is to be no shedding of blood, no quarrelling among you, no killing among you. Obey your master," Erskine said.
The bell would be rung to tell the masters what time they should send servants to church, and he would ring the bell after church and say it's time to expect your servants to come home. While the covenant presented slavery as the norm, Erskine said the document was indicative of a survival tactic slaves and free blacks have employed during oppression.
Slaves and other oppressed blacks often used a code language that communicated hopes of freedom, unbeknownst to others. Or a slave person passing looking at the big house, 'Everybody talking about heaven ain't going there. In the end of the day, he wanted his church to survive and he wanted his people to be freed. Garner attests. In fact, Liele carried his appeasement strategy-with-a-purpose forward by enunciating the aforementioned covenant, not only as a strict religious guideline for members, but as an agreement of loyalty and cooperation with the Jamaican legislature.
For instance, article 16 of the covenant condemned the breakup of families, which was a direct attack on plantation owners, who actively discouraged marriage and opposed the family unit among slaves in every conceivable way, Lawson said. The covenant also established a system of law and governance within the church for its members, which strategically bypassed the civil authorities, who are categorized as "the unjust" in articles 9 and It was a kind of underhanded compliment.
Even when he was advocating marriage, he was also chastising those who were doing things outside of marriage as the norm for them.
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Liele is believed to have died in or , according to the book. Liele never accepted a salary from his church, but earned money through a business transporting ammunition from the naval base in Port Royal to Kingston. He also received monetary contributions from a church pastored by his friend John Rippon in London, England. Erskine attributes Liele's ownership of slaves to the influence of George Whitefield, remembered as Liele's favorite preacher.
I argue it this way, that they say that his favorite preacher, Liele's favorite preacher, was George Whitefield, and that he mimicked Whitefield in the way which he preached, with his gesticulations. In the wake of the terrible destruction a revival occurred amongst all the churches. Special services were held; out of their peril and helplessness God was lifted up.
As a result fifteen hundred people were added to the churches in the five months following the earthquake. The congregations of Jamaica worked cooperatively in the early days on the island and were known as the Jamaica Christian Association. Many Jamaican workers were trained to take the leadership in local congregations, many of whom were sent to the United States to study at Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, Mississippi, and several later studied in the Christian colleges.
The strength of the churches in Jamaica by this time known as the Jamaica Association of Christian Churches continued to grow in the early twentieth century with the support of the United Christian Missionary Society, though there were never drastic increases in churches or attendance.
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Also in the s the first independent work began to take shape, which will be detailed later. Among the leaders of the Jamaican churches in this era were Tom Lawrence, C. Shirley, E. Hunt and others. Gladys M. Harrison was the first Director of Christian Education.
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Cyril A. Robertson, later the minister of the Oberlin Christian Church, was asked to give leadership to Christian College later Oberlin High School which had begun in January of with three prospective students. The women of our Canadian churches responded to this need contributing funds in for the erection of a building with four classrooms, known as Canada Hall.
The school continued to grow and was aided substantially in later years, in part through special projects sponsored by supporters of the World Convention. Richmond I. Nelson, one of the earliest graduates of Oberlin High school, succeeded the Robertsons as head of the school and gave it leadership for many years. During Hurricane Gilbert of Oberlin High School, as well as more than twenty church buildings and parsonages, sustained damage.
In the s the Disciples of Christ in Jamaica achieved full local autonomy. Also in the s the Disciples of Christ in Jamaica began to be involved with other churches in ecumenical work, especially church planting and theological education. This saw the development and involvement with such institutions as The United Theological College of the West Indies and community churches.
Initial dialogue with Presbyterians, Moravians, Congregationalists and Methodists led to the establishment of a Jamaica Church Union Commission with the eventual hope of a church union. However talks were stalled over the issue of baptism and the episcopacy.
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Talks continued between the United Church and the Disciples for the next twenty-five years until when on December 13th the two entities merged to form the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. There were approximately 40 Disciple congregations at the time of the merger. By the United Church reported a membership of about 40, administered by four Jamaican councils and one in the Cayman Islands.
Worship in the land that gave birth to reggae music is increasingly contemporary and church planting continues to be a focal point. Distance learning has considerably increased the number of students preparing for the future and further discussions with other denominations regarding merger continue to happen. Vincent Hall, of English descent and ordained within the Congregational Church, came to the conclusion that the correct model for congregational life was to be found in the New Testament and began establishing churches in Jamaica after that pattern.
Many of these congregations were located in the Mocho Mountains in the Parish of Clarendon. Some of these congregations are said to be active to this day. Through the pages of the Christian Standard Vincent told of the wonderful potential in Jamaica and appealed for additional workers. Answering the call were Mr. Luke D. Elliott who went to Jamaica in also the year given for the founding of Jamaica Christian Mission and helped to open a Seminary at Mocho to help train indigenous leaders.
The work of the school was interrupted with the Second World War and the Elliotts were forced to return to America.
Returning in the Elliotts reopened the school in Ewarton and the first class graduated in A terrible hurricane hit the island in and many church buildings were damaged and some were leveled. The following year the Seminary was moved to a large tract of land in the Constant Springs area of Kingston. More than thirty students received training at the school before it closed in Among those who remained were Harold and Adele Hill. By the mission and the Jamaican congregations were sufficiently strong enough to open Jamaica Bible Seminary in Kingston.
The first class consisted of sixteen students and soon the number of instructors grew to twelve in the first four years.
The Jamaica Christian Mission has grown to be a large and successful mission with a number of American families serving in Jamaica and providing short-term mission opportunities for American youth and adults. More than six hundred students have graduated and been employed as a result of the education received at St. Another very active independent mission in Jamaica is the Herko Family Mission begun in April of Vincent Graham is a native Jamaican who ministers to his countrymen through Caribbean Evangelism, Inc. CEI has found an open door to ministry through a medical center in Kingston.
The Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism FAME of Columbus, Indiana has been instrumental in providing medical equipment for the medical center and supplying volunteer medical professionals from the United States on short-term mission projects.
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