Saturday, March 2, 2024

ALTAR CALL: Called to be cornerstone


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MEMBERS AND FRIENDS of the New Testament Church of God in Eckstein, Tudor Bridge, St Michael, were recently challenged to remember that the church was started, born and built upon a spiritual origin, in which the Spirit of God could manifest Himself.

It came from Pastor Reverend Kevin Harris, as he spearheaded the celebratory activities for the church’s 105th anniversary.

Harris, using Ephesians 2:19-22, emphasised that “the church needed more spirit, more of God and less of man-made endeavours”.

He said Eckstein meant “cornerstone” and that the church should be firmly grounded in the teachings of God and the power of the Holy Ghost.

The 4 p.m. service focused primarily on the church’s history, as well as on offering thanksgiving and worship unto God. The latter was led by the pastor’s wife, Sister Andrea Harris, who chose hymns such as Great Is Thy Faithfulness, How Great Thou Art and The Church Is One Foundation.

Well-known gospel minister and former member of the church, Sister Margreta Marshall, gave a wonderful rendition of Marching On and paid tribute in song to her late fellow gospel artiste, Joseph Niles, who was a member of the church during the 1950s.

Tributes were also paid by administrative bishop of the New Testament Church, Martin Brewster; former pastor Reverend Archibald Connolly, and Bishop Lionel Clarke of the Bethany Evangelical Church. Clarke was baptised at the Eckstein New Testament Church at the age of 12, during the 1940s.

A PowerPoint presentation by Margaret Forde took those present on a historical trip which chronicled the early days of the church right up to the present. The church was started on March 9, 1911, by Bishop James Henry of the Church of England who answered the call to preach, teach and shepherd those who accepted salvation through Jesus Christ.

According to its records, the church was birthed in a house opposite the current building, and was the first established Pentecostal work in Barbados. It was known back then as Free Gospel Mission. As membership grew, it moved to the present location.

In 1936, steps were taken to re-induct the church into the Church of God, and the Eckstein church later became the first headquarters of the New Testament Church of God under the leadership of Bishop James Henry Marshall, the first native national overseer.

Part of the day’s celebratory service, held under theme, Recapturing Our Pentecostal Heritage, included partaking of Holy communion, over which Harris, Brewster and other ministerial associates presided. Special ministry was also rendered by the Sunday School Department, Youth, Women’s and Men’s ministries, Vincent Worrell, Phyllis Marshall, Colton Cumberbatch, the worship team – which also comprised Felicia Marshall, Delores Marshall and Michelle Douglas, Life Builders, and moderator Minister Errol Marshall.

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