The Wesley Methodist Church of Palmetto Point, which is part of the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church (BCMC), celebrated its 210th Anniversary, with a slew of special services and events hosted throughout the month of April 2023, under the theme, “Recommitting to the Mission in Spiritual Unity… One Body, One Goal.” (Derived from: Ephesians ch. 4:16)
Chairperson for the anniversary activities, and current secretary of the BCMC’s Lay Preachers Association [Central Eleuthera], Mrs. Rosemary Thompson, shared that the anniversary theme was meant to encompass worshipers of the Christian faith everywhere – from the Methodist congregation in Palmetto Point, to the other community churches, to the churches of the island, the nation and the world at large.
During the April celebration of their 210th Anniversary the church leadership recognized and honoured 21 people for their dedication and support over the years. Notably, among the honourees were 4 Sunday School and 5 Youth members.
Three distinct recognition services were held on Sundays during April, beginning on Sunday April 2nd, when the Sunday School and Youth members, 9 in total were honoured.
On Sunday, April 16th, 6 special women were honoured, followed by the honouring of 6 standout men on Sunday, April 23rd.
The Honourees included: Brother Albert Archer; Deacon Colin Moss; Brother Austin Knowles Sr.; Brother Henry Allen; Brother Delshire Mingo Sr.; and Brother Royal Cooper (Men Honourees). Sister Ivis Culmer; Sister Miriam Knowles; Sister Sheila Mae Cooper; Sister Ophelia Bethel-Ingraham; Sister Theresa Culmer; and Sister Patrice Moss (Women Honourees). Little Miss Azaria Bethel; Master A’mari Thompson; Master Jadon Culmer; and Little Miss Amera Fax (Sunday School Honourees). Miss Mikalah Bethel; Miss Cyrinique Williams, miss Antoinae Allen; Miss Orlandria Pinder; and Mr. Cameron Moss (Youth Member Honourees).
In between those special honouree services, the youth of the church held their Fun and Fellowship night, and the men of the congregation hosted a Praise and Worship “men’s style” night. Also, on Friday night, April 28th, the church held their “Night of History” with singing of, “some sweet, favorite Methodist hymns,” said Mrs. Thompson.
Commenting on the groups of honourees, she highlighted, “The church stands on the shoulders of good, godly, dedicated leaders and members who stood the test of time and stayed the course to build a heritage for us today. So, it is only fitting that we, whenever possible, take time-out to pay tribute and show appreciation for those who play a great part in keeping the doors open from Sunday to Sunday and the weekdays of Bible study and Prayer meetings in between.
“Those who may not have reached the highest office in the church, but served in some of the most needed areas. Not seeking any reward, but working faithfully, because God has called them to the “great commission” of working in His vineyard. Only seeking to hear from our Lord and Saviour on that “Great Day”, as the good servants did in the Gospel of Mathew 25:23, I quote from the KJV, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
The official 210th Anniversary Service on Sunday, April 30th, saw worshippers gathered, as Conference President, Rev. L. Carla Culmer, delivered the day’s special message from the Word of God, which centered on charting the way forward for the months and years ahead. An afternoon meal for all at the H.L. ‘Jack’ Sands Memorial Church Hall, followed the anniversary service.
Mrs. Thompson commented that the cogregation believed the celebrations were special because of the fellowship of the community churches in the settlement and the five churches in the Central Eleuthera Region of the Methodist Church – as they lifted up the name of the Lord who had kept them over the many years and had promised, as was His promise to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
She added that the Wesley Methodist Church has survived the many generations because of, “good leaders, dedicated, supportive members and the blessings of God.”
To pay commendation and appreciation to some of the leaders and members, on whose shoulders the church stands today, members established a “Wall of History” on their 200th Anniversary in 2013, at the back of their church sanctuary.
In a brief summary of the long history and impact of the church within the Palmetto Point community, Mrs. Thompson shared, “Over 210 years Wesley Methodist Church has stood out as a beacon for Christ in the community of Palmetto Point. Documented in the church history is that a group of 31 persons, 16 whites and 15 coloured and blacks met together to establish this church in November 1812 and it became an officially recognized congregation by the British Methodist Church in April of 1813… Although other denominations have since been established here in Palmetto Point, this church is where it all began.”
She continued, “The church bell was used to alert the residents of emergencies in the community, such as fires, storms, or if anyone passed away. For example, the sexton counted off the emergency rings at an alarming rate, and counted the sex and age of the person, if a person died. People in the fields were kept up-to-date on what was happening in the community. This was done for everyone in the settlement then and is still happening today. On ‘Watch Night’ the sexton would be sure to “toll the bell” to carry out the old year and welcome in the new year, even if the preacher was still preaching or the “watchman might have been off time”. Also, for many years all the churches in the community came together every Sunday evening at 3pm in this edifice for worship and for Watch Night services. Hence the church got the local name of being the ‘Mother Church’.”