The Spanish community on Montserrat now has a dedicated place of worship, Iglesia Adventista Del 7th Dia Nuevo Amor (New Love Seventh-day Adventist Church).
The dedication of the edifice on Sunday March 13th was declared by the Honourable Premier, Donaldson Romeo to be a historic occasion, since this Spanish Church is the first of its kind on island.
Situated in the village of Glebe Salem, the church was built by the New Carmel Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Salem with significant financial contributions from head organisations the South Leeward Mission and the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, as well as the Seventh-day Adventist Community at home and in the United Kingdom and members and friends in the Spanish and English community at home and abroad.
On island for the grand, historic occasion were a number of dignitaries from around the Caribbean. These included Dr Kern Tobias President of the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Trinidad and Tobago; Pastor Desmond James, President of the South Leeward Mission (SLM), Dr Carson Greene, Secretary Treasurer of SLM, along with Dr. Mark Brathwaite, Pastor Kendol and Mrs Doyle, Pastor Charles Heskey and Pastor Carl Hastings who initiated the project when he served at district pastor here.
Also on island for the occasion was Mr Joseph Daly, whose generous donation of a property to his mother church, the New Carmel SDA Church in Frith, Salem blossomed into a project which culminated in the construction of the edifice which was dedicated to God’s glory.
To mark the opening of the church to the public, Premier Donaldson Romeo cut the ribbon at 3:00 p.m. and led and the way into the sanctuary. He later addressed the gathering of persons who came from the east, west, north and south of Montserrat, Antigua and wider afield. He expressed his appreciation for the gesture of the Seventh-day Adventist Community in reaching out to the Spanish speaking residents of Montserrat.
Honourable Delmaude Ryan, Minister with responsibility for Ecclesiastical affairs was also in attendance and addressed the gathering. She congratulated the body for the initiative, saying it marked a new chapter in the history of Montserrat, as it is the first non-English speaking church. She likened the Spanish speaking community to little children who had been orphaned and made reference to the statement in James “pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.”
The history of the Spanish work on Montserrat was read by Elders Verna West and Hazel D Adams Riley. There had been a few Spanish speaking Adventists for many years but in 2011 a Spanish congregation was born following the La Maravillosa Esperanzo (The Marvelous Hope) Crusade with Pastor Moises Espinosa. It was attached to the New Carmel congregation under the care of Bible worker, Bro Roselio Morales.
Facilities had been secured so that the group could worship on its own enjoying its own distinctive cultural flavour, but that facility was inadequate. The search for more adequate facility led to the New Carmel congregation deciding to share the blessings which it had received.
In consultation with resident Pastor, Pastor Carl Hastings, the other Church Boards/Coordinating Council and the South leeward Mission plans were out in place for a church building to be erected for the congregation. Construction of the building took just over two years from ground breaking to dedication, a fete which was only possible with the blessings of God; and the dedication and generosity of a number of people.
Tribute was paid and thanks were extended to several persons and organisations. Caleb Greenaway and Roselio Morales who worked tirelessly to ensure the completion of the church building received the Spirit of Adventism Award. Joseph Daly was awarded for his timely and generous donation; as was architect Randolph Baker, who drew the building plan and sought building approval on behalf of the church; Pastor Carl Hastings who threw his full support behind the project in the initial stages and Pastor Sherwin White who brought the project to completion. A group of volunteer workmen from Antigua and a number of other individuals and businesses were thanked for their
contributions to the project.
Donations were received from the South Leeward Mission, the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, local sister churches and the Steps to Christ Spanish Church from Antigua. Donations and offering collected will assist in the purchasing of furniture and the media system for the church.
The Seventh-day Adventists Community continues to thank all for their support.