Our Heritage

The Holiness Christian Church Jamaica: Our Heritage

In 1925 the missionary bands of the world sent two missionaries to Jamaica, Missionary Alberta Alicia Amis, and Missionary Stella Bear. They resided initially in Torrington, Westmoreland and their evangelistic trust was centered on the western end of the island. The missionaries arrived at an agreement between themselves that Missionary Bear would evangelize the plains, while Missionary Amis accepted the Hills.

Missionary Amis acquired funds and purchased a property at Lindo’s Hill in Westmoreland, which she named Mt.Shiloh. This was the headquarters of the movement as well as her residence. The work of the missionaries prospered tremendously and under the leadership of Missionary Amis the following churches were established: Miles Town, Chester Castle, Haddington in Hanover, Water Works in Westmoreland, Bickersteth in St. James and Brighton in St. Elizabeth.

The missionary bands of the world were unable to cope with the demands for personnel and finances needed for the work in Jamaica. God blessed the ministry of the church, the membership grew and other churches were established.

In May 1945, Missionary Amis invited the Holiness Christian Church (HCC) in the United States of America to accept her as one of their ministers and the churches as part of their conference. In November the Holiness Christian Church in Pennsylvania agreed that Rev. William Neidhammer, Secretary of Foreign Missions and Rev. Paul Taylor, General Superintendent attended the general assembly at Mt. Shiloh and receive Missionary Amis and her congregations as a district of the Holiness Christian Church U.S.A.

The Holiness Christian Church U.S.A provided both financial assistance and personnel to the Jamaican church. Rev. Mable G. Walters was the first HCC missionary to Jamaica. She served as a missionary teacher at the Bible school namely Jamaica Evangelist Bible school which held classes in Miles Town.

Missionary Mable Walters who arrived in Jamaica as missionary teacher assumed the position of Superintendent of the churches. Missionary Walters returned to the United States on Furlough, Rev.G Miller replaced Missionary Walters and after one year returned to the United States due to his wife’s illness. The HCC purchased a property in Tobolski, St. Ann, which was used as headquarters for the denomination and residence for the missionaries. Missionary Walters returned to Jamaica and resumed Bible School classes at Miles Town and Tobolski at intervals. Rev. John Peel and family were assigned missionaries to Jamaica in 1954. They resided at Miles Town and then moved to Tobolski where he pastored for a short time. Rev. Paul Taylor and Rev. L. Wolfgang served as superintendents. Rev. Kenneth Wooten also served along with Rev. Paul S. Taylor working with the young peoples’ department.

In 1970, Rev. Angel Bertram Vassell was elected superintendent of the Holiness Christian Church Jamaica. He was the first Jamaican to be elected to that position. He remained superintendent until he was called home to be with the Lord in 1975.

Rev. Raphael Rowe, assistant superintendent, assumed the position of superintendent until conference in 1976, when he was elected superintendent from 1976-1984, Rev. Noel Gibb 1984-1990 and 1992-1998, Rev. Samuel Vassell 1998-2000, Rev.W.Dyer 2000-2006, Rev. Alvin Bailey 2006-2012. Rev Emanuel Obasare 2012 to present. The title ‘superintendent” was used until 1998, since that time the title “Bishop” has been used for the head of the denomination.

During the 1970’s, the Holiness Christian Church in Pennsylvania changed their name from Holiness Christian Church to Evangelical Christian Church. The Jamaican church however, maintained their name. In June 2001, the Evangelical Church voted to enter into a merger with the Wesleyan Church with whom they adopted an affiliation agreement at their annual conference in 1999. There was as agreement with the Jamaican church to continue their support to the denomination for five (5) years

Early Church Administration

The church was referred to as the Community Assembly

Missionary Amis

Missionary Denuwitz

The leaders were ranked as follows:

  • Sis Hellen W. VanReil
  • Sis Una Gordon
  • Sis Agnes Chambers
  • Bro Bertram McFarlane
  • Bro. Winfred Palmer
  • Sis Bethune Spence
  • Bro Gerald Fletcher
  • Sis Thompson
  • Sis Vera Ricketts
  • Bro James Hanson
  • Sis May Fisher
  • Sis Vera Mair
  • Sis Charlotte Bowen
  • Sis Ivalyn Simpson
  • Sis Amy Powell
  • Bro Z Miller