Assemblies of God in Jamaica – History

It was the year 1936 that Mrs. Thomas Glover, a Jamaican along with her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hemmings returned to Jamaica from Brooklyn, New York, where they were  members of the Glad Tidings Assembly of God. On realizing that there was a need for the Spirit of intercession among the saints, she began a prayer meeting at Gravel Lane in Montego Bay, which was later removed to Love Lane at her home in 1937. Among the early converts to this movement in Jamaica were, Sister K. Scott, the late Rev. Kenneth Donalds who later became the first Jamaican to be Superintendent of the Fellowship, Sisters Lloyd, Harding, Grand, Noble and others. This rapid growth saw the establishment of a church at Upper Kings Street in 1938. By this time, the  Rev. Cyril Darell-Huckerby arrived in Jamaica.

A Trinidadian by birth of English parents who were Missionaries on the island, he was educated in England and later moved to Canada with his parents.  He grew up in Vancouver where he received the call to ministry.  Being the man he was, he sought for a deeper experience in his life, which led to his receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1934.  Leaving Canada, he went to Panama for a short period as Missionary/Evangelist, and later set sail for Jamaica arriving on the island in January 1937 to take up ministry in the church organization with which he was affiliated.  Because of his Pentecostal experience, Rev. Darell-Huckerby met rebuff and rejection from his organization. This led him to organize a ministry out of Spanish Town know as the “Heart of Jamaica Crusade”. This new revival quickly spread to Manchester where Sis. Henry in Hatfield came in fellowship. In the East, Berisford Wesley came to know and become a friend of  Bro. Cy. Together they blazed the trail in St. Thomas establishing the work in Winchester, Bath, Pear Tree River, Hayfield and Row-landsfield, (on the Cuna Cuna trail), Portland at Haining and Port Antonio with the Phillips’ family.

At the same time, Mrs. Glover and her group were spreading the revival flame to the West. Kathleen Scott was sent to establish the work in Orange, St. James, and the late Rev. Donalds (Bro. Don) to Hampton with Bro. Dick Taylor at Gutters, while the late Sis. Hannah Clarke assisted Sis. Glover. Contacts were made and the group came together as Rev. Darell Huckerby did baptisms and  served Holy Communion at the Montego Bay church which had started in 1938. In 1940, this new Fellowship made contact with the General Council of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, expressing their desire to become a member of that organization. In 1942, representatives of the Foreign Missions Department visited Jamaica. It was then that Rev. Darell Huckerby was officially appointed as the first Assemblies of God Missionary to Jamaica.  On August 1, 1943, the first General Conference of the Assemblies of God in Jamaica was convened in Spanish Town, when the first Constitution was adopted and the first Executive Presbytery elected. The Rev. Cyril Darell-Huckerby – Superintendent; the Rev. Robert Hemmings – Assistant Superintendent; the Rev. Wellesley Nelson-Secretary/Treasurer and the Rev. Hannah Clarke- advisory Member.  This Conference was monumental as the Church was filled to capacity flowing out in the yard and into the streets.  This new Fellowship grew rapidly and on the 18th of November 1944, the organization was incorporated under the Laws of Jamaica.

It was the wish of the founder that like other Assemblies of God Fellowship the work made remarkable strides in the West. By 1949, the work had grown to 22 Assemblies.  Mrs. Glover had returned to the United States, Sister Hannah Clarke was now the pastor of the Montego Bay church with Rev. Henry Clarke (no relation) as her assistant.  Rev. Donalds (Brother Don) had then moved in the unchartered waters of Westmoreland as a pioneer. While the work grew, these men and women had a clear vision from God as to the direction they should go. The philosophy of the Rev. Darell-Huckerby (Bro. Cy) was ‘Jamaica for Jesus; every church a Bible school and a Pentecostal experience for every believer.’

From the onset, training was priority which led to the first Bible Institute which was established at Spanish Town in September of 1946, under the leadership f Bro. Cy with missionaries, Algot and Dagny, Marie Mattson assisting.  In 1951, Bro. Cy blazed the trail in the Metropolis of Kingston. With the Assemblies of God witness of Pentecostalism, he saw the pioneering of Evangel Temple at 3 Friendship Park Road, Vineyard Town, and the establishment of Extension Bible School in Kingston, Montego Bay and Bath, St. Thomas.  It led to the acquisition of property in Chapelton, Clarendon. Missionary Paul Davidson led the construction team and in 1960, the new institution was opened with the Rev. and Mrs. Goodwin with graduates such as the Rev. Edwin Foster and his late wife, and the late Rev. Astley Williams, former Superintendent, who later became teachers.

The   Assemblies of God Bible College has had its ups and downs over the many years. It has grown and developed under the leadership of its Directors; Rev. Bartley, Rev. Veron Kinkead and presently Rev. Conrad H. Pitkin.  Other departments were established with the Fellowship: the Sunday school led first by Missionary Helen Rye and later by Mrs. Iceline Bright. The Women’s Missionary Council later renamed Women’s Ministry with Rev. M. Werdenie, as the first president, and the Youth Department with Mr. George Brisset as the first Nation Youth Director. The Men’s Ministry also came on stream during the years.  The Rev. Darell-Huckerby was the first to bring the Pentecostal message to the airwaves during the early 50’s on Jamaica’s first radio station ZQI   with Gospel and Song. This became the first religious broadcast on the new station Radio Jamaica and Rediffusion that replaced ZQI. The Rev. Darell-Huckerby continued as Superintendent until April 1979 when he demitted office. We salute Bro. Cy as founder of the great work, the Assemblies of God in Jamaica.

The Rev. Kenneth Donalds became the first Jamaican to be elected Superintendent of the Fellowship. These were the watershed years that were a transition to Jamaican leadership of the local church under Bro. Don. The constitution was revised and the Fellowship restructured to bring about greater participation. Bro. Don served as Superintendent until April 9181, when the revised constitution was adopted and the Rev. Astley Williams elected as Superintendent. In 1982, it was felt strongly that the church should return to its vision and so Impact “83” was born in the spirit of the leaders.  The Fellowship grew from 44 churches in 1979 to 56 by the end of 1983.

Today, celebrating seventy-five years of ministry on the island, the Fellowship continues to be the light in the nation. We still hold on to the fundamental doctrines on which the foundation of the Fellowship was built. Much emphasis is being placed on education, as the Bible College in partnership with Caribbean School of theology and Global University offers training to our members at the diploma, bachelor’s degree and masters degree levels.  There are at present eighty-two (82) organized Assemblies scattered in every parish except       St. Mary, and five (5) preaching points.  There are two children’s Homes; City of Refuge Children’s Home in Content Gap, St. Andrew, founded by Revs. Steve and Kim Puffpaff, who are the Directors of the Home.  The other is the New Vision City of Refuge, located in Coleville Manchester, which is under the directive of Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Beaton.  The Fellowship over the years has yearned to have its own Convention Center.  Thanks be to God, this dream is being realized, as the building started in 2004. 

Hitherto hath the Lord helped us, and with Him we will continue.

We Believe As Christians . . . (16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God)

  1. WE BELIEVE…The Scriptures are Inspired by God
  2. WE BELIEVE…There is only One True God
  3. WE BELIEVE…In the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. WE BELIEVE…though originally good, Man Willingly Fell to Sin
  5. WE BELIEVE…Every Person Can Have Restored Fellowship with God Through ‘Salvation’
  6. WE BELIEVE…and practice two ordinances—(1) Water Baptism by Immersion and (2) Holy Communion
  7. WE BELIEVE…the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a Special Experience Following Salvation
  8. WE BELIEVE… The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is ‘Speaking in Tongues,’
  9. WE BELIEVE…Sanctification Initially Occurs at Salvation
  10. WE BELIEVE…The Church has a Mission
  11. WE BELIEVE…A Divinely Called and Scripturally Ordained Leadership Ministry Serves the Church.
  12. WE BELIEVE…Divine Healing of the Sick is a Privilege for Christians Today
  13. WE BELIEVE…in The Blessed Hope—When Jesus Raptures His Church Prior to His Return to Earth
  14. WE BELIEVE…in The Millennial Reign of Christ
  15. WE BELIEVE…A Final Judgment Will Take Place
  16. WE BELIEVE…and look forward to the perfect New Heavens and a New Earth

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