Jamaica CGI reports on feast, new building
KINGSTON, Jamaica--On Pentecost, observed by the Church of God International on Sunday, May 27, this year, 193 of the brethren from the CGI Jamaica sang with gusto and gave God thanks for the blessings He has showered on their church on this Caribbean island.
On Pentecost weekend they attended four services. On the weekly Sabbath, Pastor Ian Boyne gave a sermon that focused on the responsibilities of the firstfruits to preach the gospel and feed the flock. He dismissed the pay-and-pray-only view, noting ways the general membership should build up the church.
Many a conscience was pricked by the message, said Mr. Boyne, with many resolving to do more to evangelize and strengthen each another.
In the afternoon's Bible study Mr. Boyne declared that Jesus commissioned His church to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, emphasizing the future nature of the Kingdom.
The problem with other churches
Mr. Boyne said Catholics and Protestants do not understand the gospel and therefore could not have been commissioned by God. He said he knows his statement regarding Catholics and Protestants and their understanding of the gospel is a hard teaching and that some Church of God brethren recoil from the "true church" doctrine because of its association with the Worldwide Church of God's organizational exclusivism. But "sincerity is not a test of truth," he said.
A former WCG member in the audience was "overwhelmed" by the message, Mr. Boyne reported. The member had left the WCG when its splits began in earnest a few years ago.
"This is really eye-opening," the former WCGer said. "I wish the other ex-WCG members were here to hear it."
In the afternoon deacon George Ramocan spoke about harvest laws, drawing analogies between farming and developing the fruits of the Spirit.
New home for Ocho Rios church
In other CGI Jamaica news, on the Sabbath of May 26 Mr. Boyne officiated at the opening of new leased facilities in Ocho Rios for the CGI's second congregation in this country. The Ocho Rios brethren now have access to a church building 24 hours of every day.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread this year, Mr. Boyne and elder Richard Williams ordained Carlton Sterling, an architect, as the deacon in charge of the congregation.
"I was thrilled when we had to go out and buy chairs as 50 persons turned up" for the first service, said Mr. Boyne.
Gilbert Bell, a former Church of God (Seventh Day) elder who affiliated with the CGI a year ago, gave the sermonette, "Jesus Our Champion."
Mr. Boyne spoke on prophecy: "The Tale of Two Women and Two Cities," concerning the true and false churches depicted in the book of Revelation.
"We had all-day services, and included in the audience were Seventh-day Adventists, COG (Seventh Day) people and ex-Worldwiders," he said.
CGI attendance: It figures
The CGI in Jamaica is "way ahead" of other WCG-derivative groups, said Mr. Boyne, in congregational growth.
The United Church of God has seven people attending, the "former Global" reports attendance "in the 40s," and the Living Church of God has 50-some in attendance, said Mr. Boyne.
"The CGI Jamaica is the largest Church of God group in the entire English-, Spanish- and French-speaking Caribbean. But we are all part of the one Body of Christ, commissioned to preach the gospel of peace."
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