The writer is host of a television talk show; press secretary to the Jamaican minister of industry, investment and commerce; and speech writer for several banking executives. He is religion columnist for the newspaper with the widest circulation in the Caribbean, The Sunday Gleaner.
Mr. Boyne stays abreast of theological trends by reading at two seminaries on the island.
He has been a member of the Church of God for 24 years, now pastoring a congregation of 115 in Kingston for the Church of God International.
He did graduate studies in mass communication at the University of the West Indies and is editor of Ideas for a New Beginning, a book on political science.
Jamaican brethren excited about growth
By Ian Boyne
KINGSTON, Jamaica-We are running out of superlatives to describe what God is doing in Jamaica. Here are the plain facts.
On the morning of the Passover (Sunday, April 20) we baptized the largest number of persons in a single baptism: 10, breaking the seven-year record of eight in the spring of 1990.
Then, on June 15, the day before Pentecost, another four were baptized, bringing to 14 those baptized since Passover. (See related article, page 1.)
We have not for 10 years had the level of unity, love and synergy that exists today. We have managed to achieve a lot over the years, but 1997 is unprecedented in unity of purpose.
Our first-ever public campaigns on a Sabbath pulled a large number of persons, some of whom were recently baptized. Glowing testimonies have been given from people who were members of popular churches.
One man now travels from the deep rural area of Jamaica for three hours each Sabbath. Jamaicans usually do not travel more than a few minutes for church. (It is said we have more churches per square mile than any other country in the world.)
This young man, an avid listener to CGI founder and president Garner Ted Armstrong's radio broadcasts (which air at 4:45 in the morning), visited a person on the mailing list of CGI headquarters, near Tyler, Texas, and last Sabbath took the person to services after the Tyler office sent me the name.
The man is from the same area and traveled three hours as well.
Words are inadequate to describe the sentiments elicited from the solemn and moving Passover service attended by 66 people.
Ninety-five attended the first day of Unleavened Bread, and 88 attended the last holy-day service.
The sermons, given by Paul Oconnor, Glenford Smith and I, all focused on spiritual growth and the necessity of overcoming sin and increasing our zeal for God. Offerings were over $50,000 for the two days.
A Worldwide Church of God couple that attended with us during the Days of Unleavened Bread has been so taken with the CGI here that the two have asked for and received membership in the CGI.
Therefore, we have added 16 members in just a few weeks, and attendance is averaging in the high 90s each Sabbath.
Added to our membership is a former ranking member of parliament who gave a moving testimony at a Bible-study weekend in March, saying that, though he had attended an Adventist Bible college for four years, studying for his business degree and taking theology courses, he had not learned as much as he had in 10 weeks with the CGI.
The WCG couple had attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Pasadena, Calif. The wife had attended several congregations in England. The man and his wife are excited about the CGI and are actively witnessing to WCG brethren.
It seems we are getting more quality responses to Mr. Armstrong's broadcast than ever before, with some people requesting to visit the church.
In the CGI here, we are involved in doing the work. Thank God for the international vision of the CGI.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God