Jamaica Mennonite Church
The Jamaica Mennonite Church was organized with 26 members on 10 July 1955 at Constant Spring, Jamaica, by Bishop Truman Brunk, Moderator of the Virginia Mennonite Conference, who baptized 11 persons and received by transfer from other denominations 15 persons. Warren and Erma Metzler were appointed missionaries to Jamaica in November 1955 by the Virginia Board of Missions and Charities, which is administering the work in cooperation with the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (Elkhart, Indiana, USA). This work had a unique origin. Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Loewen of Manitoba (General Conference Mennonite) went to Jamaica in October 1954 to investigate the possibilities of mission work and soon began a private work. Unable to continue because of poor health, and failing to secure the support of their own conference mission board, they appealed to the Mennonite Central Committee for help, which passed on the appeal to the Virginia board. The Loewens and a group of Jamaican Christians with whom they had found fellowship then formally invited the Virginia board to take over the work. -- Harold S. Bender
The Jamaica Mennonite Church began in 1955 when the Virginia Mennonite Conference (Mennonite Church) mission board assumed supervision of a program begun by D. H. and Annie Loewen. The Alpine congregation was an outreach of the initial congregation, Good Tidings Mennonite church. In addition to these two congregations, Temple Hall and Waterloo congregations were located in the Kingston area. The Ocho Rios and Calvary congregations were found in the northern part of the island. Bethel congregation was located east of Mandeville on the higher elevation of Jamaica's interior. Joyland and Abrams congregations developed on the Santa Cruz mountain. In 1977 the Salter's Hill church was established close to Montego Bay. Thus from one end of the island to the other, churches have emerged as a result of people being obedient to the Holy Spirit. In 1988 these 10 congregations had a membership of approximately 450. Five congregations operated elementary-level schools for their communities.
The Maranatha School for the Deaf and the Way to Life Ministries were two programs of the Jamaican Mennonite churches. The school was operated by an elected board consisting of members of Jamaica Mennonite churches, Mennonite Central Committee workers, and community leaders. Way to Life provides correspondence Bible study courses, counseling, Christian literature, and a radio ministry. -- Mary Jane Hoober
The following statistics for the Jamaica Mennonite Church cover the time period between 2000 and 2009:
Horsch, James E., ed. Mennonite Yearbook and Directory. Scottdale: Mennonite Publishing House (1988-89): 158.
Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1978: 225-226.
Mennonite World Handbook Supplement. Strasbourg, France, and Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1984 :82.
Mennonite World Conference. "2000 Caribbean, Central & South America Mennonite & Brethren in Christ Churches." Web. 31 October 2010. http://www.mwc-cmm.org/Directory/2000carcsam.html.
Mennonite World Conference. "Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Churches Worldwide, 2009: Latin America & The Caribbean." 2010. Web. 28 October 2010..
Mennonite World Conference. "MWC - 2003 Caribbean, Central & South America Mennonite & Brethren in Christ Churches." Web. 9 March 2006. http://www.mwc-cmm.org/Directory/carcsam.html.
Slabaugh, Mary. "Let's Visit Jamaica" and "Farewell for the Metzlers." Gospel Herald 48 (1955): 1214-1216.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 69; vol. 5, pp. 459-460. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. and Mary Jane Hoober. "Jamaica Mennonite Church." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2010. Web. 19 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/J273.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. and Mary Jane Hoober. (October 2010). Jamaica Mennonite Church. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/J273.html.