All registered Leaders, Assistants, Secretaries, Deacons and Deaconesses of Stadium Community S.D.A.
Towards the summer of 1975 a small group of brethren from the Macedonia SDA Church (Now Roseau Road SDA Church) in obedience to the gospel commission - “go ye into the entire world…” (Mark 16:15) launched out on the back of Br. Nehemiah Spencer’s truck (deceased 2008) into the Old Hope Road community with a zeal to bring “New Hope” to its residence. These included but were not limited to: Bro’s. Lascells Davis, Nehemiah Spencer (deceased) Delroy Raffington, Lloyd Creary and Edris Collins (now deceased). They first assembled at the home of Sis. Eliott (now deceased); where a Branch Sabbath School was initiated; two persons renewed their faith - Sis Bernice Walker (now Barham) and Sis. Dorothy Fitzgerald. A series of nightly street meetings ensued, and based on the response from the community, the accommodation at Sis. Eliott’s home soon became inadequate; and rental of nearby premises - 1 ½ Downer Avenue would be the new home for the young company.
The Lord blessed the efforts and the membership increased to include: Marcia Mahabeer, Lorna Beckford, Thelma Smith, Hyacinth Kerr (now Brown), Ernal Wallace, Br. Kennedy (both deceased) and Bro. and Sis. Dawswell to name a few; myself (Marie Bernabe) along with my siblings were numbered among the children of the young congregation. With the new accommodations, a first Elder and Pastoral leadership became necessary thus Elder Lascelles Davis and Intern Pastor Dixon were assigned. The new company was named “New Hope Seventh-Day Adventist Church”. Evangelistic efforts continued and souls were being born for the Lord; of course, the enemy was displeased and he attempted to dismantle the assembly by blemishing the shepherd; but the brethren, through fasting and prayer continued to echo the message of salvation and in 1977 a new Intern – Pastor Bertis Runcie was assigned. When the enemy saw that the faiths of the brethren were unshaken he advocated for the young assembly to be removed with urgency; hence a removal notice was served. Uncertainty lingered, however, the brethren prayed and the Lord took control; just prior to the expiration of the notice, Lorraine Davidson, a regular visitor to the assembly and daughter of Pastor Davidson, offered up premises at 4 Roosevelt Avenue, to be used as the new place of worship.
With great rejoicing and swiftness the brethren dismantled the wooden structure at the Downer Avenue premises and relocated to Roosevelt Avenue in November of 1978. The enemy was irate; and no sooner than the new structure had been erected, the brethren were served another notice of removal; this time by the Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) with a threat that a failure to comply would see the building be removed by the Authority themselves. Reason given - the building was constructed too close to the main road and it was feared that motor vehicles would careen off the road and into the building – and understandably so; but this fear was short-lived as the brethren fasted and prayed for God to protect the sanctuary and that the KSAC not to make good their threat.
Two years later in 1980 the young company was organized into a church and renamed “Roosevelt Avenue Seventh-Day Adventist Church”. The structure remained undisturbed until September 1988 when hurricane Gilbert completely demolished the building; undaunted, the brethren worked assiduously and within 4 days after the hurricane with God’s help, the rebuilding was completed and Sabbath worship was just as normal - of course this was to their disadvantage since this swift action posed a challenge to the insurance adjusters who could not carry out an accurate assessment, thus the loss of funding for the church retarding its progress for the next few years.
Other challenges as well as positive issues existed –a high wall erected by the neighbor not only blocked ventilation to the church from the southern end but prevented drainage, resulting in severe back up of water whenever it rained ruining important documents stored in “the Hole” as the basement was then referred to. Despite the obstacles, the brethren continued in evangelistic fervor and between 1979-1980 was successful in transforming an entire congregation of a Sunday-Keeping believers in accepting the Sabbath; several of the brethren from that congregation migrated to the Roosevelt Avenue assembly while others remained with the original congregation observing the Sabbath – irrespective of the fact that the remaining believers did not fully conformed to the Adventist belief they observe the Sabbath and used the material of the Seventh-day Adventists in their weekly worship sessions. Also, a handful of brethren from the Roosevelt assembly - Elder Lascelles Davis, Theresa Hinds (now Thorpe), Bro’s. Peter Brown and Christopher Thorpe, played a significant role in the formation of “Branch Sabbath School” in the Sandy Park community as well as in the Cross Roads area. The Falchion Pathfinder Club came into being around that time as well.
By 1983 plans for a new and permanent edifice were drawn and again the hand of the enemy was visible resulting in several failed attempts to have the plans approved and he lifting of the covenant of the community from that of residential to commercial. Again the Lord intervened and by August 1988, the plan was approved and the covenant lifted. Ground breaking ceremony for the new edifice was held in August 1995, paving the way for construction. The brethren were able to move into the new building by 2001 and the church was renamed Stadium Community SDA Church.
Numerous outstanding Minister of the East Jamaica Conference had served the church either as Intern Pastors or Ordained Ministers or both; these include:
Some Elders who served during the history of the church included but were not limited to :
The church was re-named to Stadium Community S.D.A. after the Government of the day changed the name of the street from Roosevelt Avenue to Herb McKenley Avenue. Since this new name had no affiliation with Seventh day Adventist the church took the name of the neighboring community. We are indeed grateful to God for how He has led us in the past and we look forward to His leading in the future, as we work to spread the Advent message to the local communities.
Author: Marie Bernabe
Photography: Glen Boothe
Last Updated: July 18th 2017
Core Area of Expertise: Computer Science
Work Experience: www.scsda.site