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MESSAGE FROM THE MODERATOR
RT. REV. GARY HARRIOTT.

It is with great delight that I greet and congratulate you on behalf of the Synod of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI) on this your 80th Anniversary. God has truly blessed your Ministry and Mission engagement over the years; you have seen significant numerical growth and your impact has been far and wide.

We thank God for the pioneers who laboured in the vineyard, building this ministry from humble beginnings. You have been faithful in continuing to build on the foundation laid by our foremothers and forefathers; you are a beacon indeed. “To God be the Glory, great things He has done.”

On a personal note, I have fond memories of serving among you as Associate Minister, and later, as a member of the congregation.

You opened your arms and welcomed my family and provided opportunities for our sharing in the Ministry. Indeed, you have contributed to my vocational formation; helping me to hone my skills, and prepared me for service in the wider church community and society.

Dionne and I are rejoicing that our daughters, who came to you when they were young children, have found a home at Webster and now they and their families are making their own contribution.

You are marking your Anniversary when, as a Synod, we are being guided by the Theme: “Rooted! Resilient! Responding in HOPE “ (Health, Opportunity, Peace and Evangelism).

This theme represents a clarion call to us as the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in how not to be daunted by the challenges of the present time, but to provide a hopeful response in the area of health; seeking out new opportunities; building peace and engaging in evangelism, the heartbeat of the church.

While you can look back with a great sense of achievement, there is need for a re-reading of the signs of the times in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the varying social, moral and ethical challenges with which we are faced as a society.

You are well resourced with gifted members; members who are strategically placed in society, as well as material resources. These must serve the advancement of God’s Kingdom by sharing the Good News of the Gospel; by providing godly influence in the board rooms of power; by advocating for the empowerment of people; by being a voice for the voiceless, and by acting in ways that protect the dignity of persons, especially those most vulnerable. Some of our communities are longing for the light and hope that you possess.

“To whom much is given, much is required.” The time has come, I believe, for Webster to spread its wings even wider; pursuing missional and developmental enterprises across Jamaica in partnership with others of our congregations and other social actors. Remember the words of Jesus, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.”

I salute you and pray that “those who come behind you will find you faithful.”

Rt. Rev. Gary Harriott
MODERATOR

MESSAGE FROM REV. ASTOR CARLYLE,
PASTOR, WEBSTER MEMORIAL UNITED CHURCH

This year, Webster Memorial United Church celebrates its 80th Anniversary of Ministry. The age 80 in the current Covid 19 pandemic, is considered a stage of vulnerability. However, despite the varied threats to its existence, including the National pandemic of crime, corruption, and Covid, Webster defiantly declares in this milestone year that Her immune system is strong.

Hence the Anniversary theme ‘Webster at 80: Rooted, Resilient, Relevant’.

Why ROOTED? ‘Rooted’ speaks to an anchored, sustained and sustainable system of support. As a Church we are rooted in our Foundation: The God of our faith. Acts 17: 28, reminds us: For in Him we live and move and have our being… ‘We are His offspring.’ The Church is God’s initiative of love. It is in God that we find this rootedness.

We are Rooted in the Reformed Tradition where the expression and exercise of faith, grounded in the Word and Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion), point to the transformative grace and power of God! These underscore our identity, holding out Christ’s vision of renewal for our world and keeping the sense of mission alive in our operations.

Why RESILIENT? ‘RESILIENT’ speaks to our faithful response. It is the disposition that emerges from our conviction that God is in control of all events of life. Romans 8: 28: states; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. There is therefore nothing that we cannot bounce back from because of who we are and whose we are.

WHY RELEVANT? ‘RELEVANCE’ is the component that reminds us that we are stewards committed to the transformation of our world! Full and fulsome stewardship recognizes that given the changes and demands of our times we assess how we “do” and “be” the Church, meeting people where they are, caring for each other and God’s created order.

Our theme connects significantly with that of the 42nd Synod of our United Church being expressed as “Rooted, Resilient: Responding in HOPE” (Health, Opportunities, Peace, Evangelism).

The nexus created between both themes encourages Webster to remain Rooted in Christ Jesus, and to express that internal resilience as we navigate the changing and challenging waters of our times, by being flexible and relevant, appropriately responding to the existential needs around us.

As we celebrate our rich heritage let us rise with buoyant hope in the fact that the future is bright. Let us willingly offer our time, talents, and treasure as tributes the faithfulness of God and the pioneering work of those who have gone before us.

The working of the evil one will threaten, but Webster is ROOTED in Christ. The winds of Challenge will continue to blow, but Webster, under God, is RESILIENT. The waters of Change will flow but Webster, through Christ, will always be RELEVANT.

Rev. Astor Carlyle

MESSAGE FROM REV. NORBERT STEPHENS
UCJCI GENERAL SECRETARY

In celebrating the eightieth anniversary of its founding this year, the Webster Memorial United Church celebrates a tremendous milestone. Such observance bears credible witness to the tenacity of purpose of a community that has withstood the challenges of changing times and circumstances and by its very survival speaks of its enduring relevance. It is therefore with a sense of pride and joy that the Synod of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands joins you in these celebrations and salutes you for the quality and depth of your engagement over this significant period.

The ministry engaged during the last 80 years has been one characterized by change, challenges and development at almost every level of church and national life. The context in which you are engaged in ministry and mission continues to be a rapidly changing one. The strong focus on development with an increased emphasis on improved infrastructure is contrasted with, and at times undermined by pockets of significant inner-city decline and underdevelopment. This is accompanied by the malady of crime and violence, social dislocation and the imposition of a global pandemic, which threatens to nullify much of the developmental gains. The city of Kingston, therefore, continues to represent an opportunity for ministry that must go beyond what is conventional and challenges us to extend ourselves beyond the familiar comfort zones of pulpit and pew.

In these turbulent and unfamiliar times you are again called to recognize and minister to people who struggle to navigate life’s complexities. In such a context, building capacity, peace-making and peace-keeping must combine to foster value-added partnerships and to offer a care-giving presence. This is the task for the next phase of the life and witness of Webster Memorial United Church. Indeed, it is only through faithfulness to such a calling that ministerial and missional engagement will be regarded as relevant and responsive to the Gospel call.

Your celebration coincides with the beginning of a new synodical period in the United Church, which has a strong missional focus primarily in the areas of evangelism, nurture and leadership undergirded by the theme for our just concluded 42nd Synod, “Rooted, Resilient: Responding in HOPE”. It is an understanding, reflective of the history of Webster Memorial’s ministry and mission, that our faith is deeply grounded in God, we are resilient in the face of the challenges of our times and our response is one that is missional; that we offer hope through Health, Opportunities, Peace and Evangelism.

On behalf of the United Church family I salute the leaders and members of Webster Memorial United Church on this significant milestone. We assure you that we stand solidly behind you as you explore ways to be relevant to the needs and aspirations of the people you serve.

Norbert D. Stephens

Do You Remember these faces?

Do you remember any of these persons from the era of Rev. Dunlop?
Tell your story and be a part of our 80th Anniversary Story.