Lady Allen and I are pleased to be back in Spanish Town where we have pleasant memories of the time working here and making lasting friendships.
I consider it a privilege to be a part of the 200th anniversary celebration of the historic Phillippo Baptist Church. You do not need to be reminded of the critical role that the Revd James Mursell Phillippo played, in the abolition of slavery and the significance of this church in Jamaica’s Emancipation Movement. The chains of slavery are buried in your church yard, and that is a testimony to the deep involvement. You have inherited a very rich legacy of which you can be proud.
Your year-long celebrations, which began in January 2018 under the theme “Jehovah God, our Foundation – Phillippo Prevails,” embodies all the ethos of your history – its tragedies and triumphs. Through these expressions of gratitude you have declared that Jehovah God is your foundation, who helps this church to prevail, and who makes you more than conquerors.
Throughout its history, Phillippo has been blessed to have Pastors who have been socially aware and whose inspiring, conscientious ministry has made an impact on the church, the community, and the nation.
I acknowledge and commend the leadership of the Hon and Revd Jeffrey McKenzie, and also the congregation for your exceptional and noticeable efforts in catering to the social and physical needs of the communities in Spanish Town.
Through your impressive social outreach, community and skills training programmes, the lives of many young people have been transformed and given purpose. You have used ‘What is right with Jamaica to fix what is wrong with Jamaica.”
You have successfully become a ‘church without walls’ where the Good News of the Gospel, is shared with everyone. You know what it is to “give prayers as well as potatoes.”
The physical church building has won awards, and has been recognized nationally and internationally as an outstanding example of Georgian architecture. You were not daunted when you lost the roof in a hurricane a few years ago. It took a lot of sacrifice but you rebuilt, replaced and refurbished, and today we have this beautiful building restored in all its splendor to the honour and glory of God.
As you conclude this wonderful year of celebration and thanksgiving, I remind you to always remember that ‘Jehovah God’ is the cornerstone of your ‘Foundation’ and the reason you will ‘Prevail’.
Thank you and God bless you.