Reverend Sheldon Raymond said the church he officially launched on January 31 this year is not aimed at making money, adding that measures are being put in place to ensure accountability.
The clergyman, who is also a businessman, is the founder of Rehoboth Christian Worship Centre, located at Fennel’s Place in Rose Hall district, Linstead, St. Catherine.
In an interview with The Beacon, he told prospective members: “We are not concerned so much about your money or what you can give; what we are concerned about is the impact that we will have on your life going forward.
“The main objective is to serve the community of Linstead especially; my personal passion is towards the young people of Linstead. I want to show them that there is a better way,” Reverend Raymond further declared.
He noted that the church has applied to join the Independent Churches of Jamaica (ICJ), which is one of seven church-governing bodies on the island.
“We are in the process of getting our application approved to be a member of that body, because we believe in accountability. We don’t believe in the fact that we stand alone and we are accountable to no man, and we are accountable to ourselves. We believe in the principle of accountability,” Reverend Raymond told The Beacon.
President of the ICJ, Bishop Neville Owens, was among a number of clergy members who attended the launch of the church in Linstead.
He also simultaneously presided over the official ordination of Reverend Raymond, who has been baptized for two decades, and who holds a diploma in Biblical and Pastoral Studies from the Jamaica Open Bible Institute.
Bishop Owens was accompanied by ICJ Vice President Reverend Owen Mitchell, as well as Jermaine Henry, and Prophet Bernard Dillon.
Prophet Dillon, after sounding his shofar, used Olive Oil to symbolically anoint Reverend Raymond and his wife’s heads, right thumbs, right ears, and right toes.
In the meantime, Bishop Owens charged the couple to, among other things, live upright and remain worthy of being emulated. “I charge you both that, whatsoever you do, you would also preach…” he further advised Reverend Raymond and his wife. The couple said ‘I do’ in agreement with each charge.
Reverend Raymond’s wife, Kayann, a long-time Christian, told The Beacon that she is committed to working with her husband to ensure the fulfillment of the church’s objectives.
Her mother-in-law, Vinette Archer, who addressed the gathering, said her son is someone who believes in making the impossible possible.
“I offer congratulations as he embarks on his new chapter of life. It has been indeed a long journey and, with sincerity and joy, I watced as he took each step with faith, courage and strength,” she explained.
“I have witnessed situations where you (Reverend Raymond) have been built up. I also see where you have been cast down. Yet, you learn from each. I have seen you take on impossible tasks and approach them with much faith… I am a proud mother this afternoon to say he is my son.”
The launch of the church and ordination of Reverend Raymond ended with a high-energy performance by Gospel artiste Kevin Heath.
The Rehoboth Christian Worship Centre, which holds its main service on Sundays at 10AM, is named based on the biblical story in Genesis 26:22.
The church also already assembled its team of leaders. Vinette Archer is Prayer Coordinator, Denise Maharaj is Outreach Director, Ester Jackson-Brown is Evangiism Director, Shadene Allen-Hall is Youth and Children’s Affairs Coordinator, and Sharlene Brown is Administrative Director.
Reverend Raymond, pleased that the church is taking shape, said he initially had no plan to start a new sanctuary after leaving the Gospel Lighthouse fellowship in September last year.
“Forming a church was probably the last thing on our minds, but it was something that we never ruled out at all,” he said. “We prayed tirelessly on these issues – where we were going next. The direction we had was to actually form Rehobth Christian Worship Centre. Everything happened very quickly.”
Reverend Raymond said he explained his plans to the management of Fennel’s Place in Linstead.
The management offered him the opportunity to operate from Fennel’s, where Reverend Raymond is now planning to establish a more permanent home.
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