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Jamaica Methodist District
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The Methodist Church was raised up to spread scriptural holiness
The Methodist Church was raised up to spread scriptural holiness

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Celebration Of 50 Years’ Autonomy
The Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas is, in 2017, celebrating fifty (50) years as an autonomous Church. In 1967, we ceased being an Overseas District of the British Methodist Conference to become the MCCA “Connexion”. Connection is the term used to refer to an administrative arrangement of several Methodist and Wesleyan churches linked together in defined geographical areas. Interestingly in the MCCA’s spelling of “connection” the “ct” is replaced by an “x” representing the Greek letter χ which begins the name of Christ - χριστος.
The MCCA is celebrating fifty (50) years of autonomy, but Methodism in these parts dates to Antigua in 1760 when Nathaniel Gilbert began preaching the gospel to slaves on the back steps of his estate’s great house. In 1758 Gilbert had been to England where he became converted under the preaching of Rev. John Wesley. This movement that developed in Antigua spread across the region, with the input of women, with names like Mary Alley, Sophia Campbell and Bessie, inclusive of free women and slaves. It moved not only into English speaking territories but into islands and onto the mainland of Central and South America where Spanish, French, Dutch, Papiamento and other languages were spoken.
In May 2017, we celebrate 50 years of autonomy. Historically, there was a precursor to the 1967 autonomy. In 1884, the Methodist Church in the West Indies became autonomous, but by 1903 the arrangement had collapsed for several reasons including inadequate finances and the withdrawal of British help. In 1959, a resolution was approved overwhelmingly by the Jamaican Synod to again move towards the establishment of an autonomous Conference. In 1960, the sitting of the Provincial Synod formally requested autonomy from the British Conference.
The story of how Antigua came to be the site for the MCCA headquarters can best be described as a case of divine intervention. The 1964 Provincial Synod that met in Guyana (at that time British Guiana) had appointed a committee to make recommendations but its report was that there was no site available and besides the cost would be prohibitive. A year later, in 1965, an unexpected meeting of Connexional President Elect Rev. Dr Hugh B. Sherlock and Chief Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Vere Cornwall Bird, resulted in the government offering four acres of land at Scott’s Hill in St John’s. The expense to the church was the cost of stamps on the transfer.
On the fifteenth day of February 1967 the Ordinance was passed in the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda, to establish the autonomous Church to be known as the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. On the eighteenth day of May 1967 the Conference, by a standing vote, accepted the Ordinance as well as the Deed of Church Order. The autonomous MCCA comprised seven Districts – Belize/Honduras, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Leeward Islands, Panama/ Costa Rica and South Caribbean. The following year, 1968, the Bahamas/ Turks and Caicos Islands joined the family to make it a Connexional Conference of Eight Districts.
Over the years there have been the achievements and the struggles. Methodists in the region have become conscious of the fact that the onus is upon us as Caribbean people, not the British, to fund our operations. We value the heritage that has been passed on to us and we are eager to be shaped in ways that make us more relevant to the cultural contexts within which we operate. We are not reluctant to completely “let go” of the British way of doing things. It took forty-six (46) years of autonomy before the emergence of our own MCCA Hymnal Voices in Praise – in 2013. As Methodists, we will continue to sing and to produce hymns and songs with which our God blesses us. Together, we press on, confident of the mighty hand of our faithful God guiding us through the years.

George Mulrain
May 1, 2017
Prepared for the “Methodist Connexion” broadcast of Sunday 7th May 2017
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The first ever District Council was held in the Jamaica District between Thursday January 21 and Monday January 25 2016 in the St. Thomas Circuit.  

Ministerial Council was held Thursday January 21 and Monday January 25.  District Council was held on Friday January 22 and Saturday January 23. 

On Sunday January 24, Minsters and Lay Delegates participated in morning worship services across the parish. In the afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the Official Council Welcome service was held.
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