Labouring for the Lord - Members donate cash, time to refurbish church
When an elderly member of the congregation fell down a flight of stairs on her way up to the sanctuary, that was the last straw for members of the Duncans Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trelawny, who decided the time had come to retrofit their place of worship.
"I remember one Sabbath morning, one of the sisters was coming up the step and she fell. She broke her hand and the bone was coming through," said Omar Black, chairman of the church's building committee. The church sits on top of a 20-step incline which leads from the main road.
So every Sunday, since January, members gather at the church, toiling away. Their plan to is construct a three-storey building. Black estimates that the project will cost approximately $20 million, of which they have already expended $8 million.
At the top of the stairs sits a two-room board and concrete structure, the ceiling of which has been pierced by a fallen tree, causing the rain and all other elements to invade their sanctuary.
As he and other church members toiled away on Labour Day, Black told THE WEEKEND STAR that the new building, when complete, would make it more accessible for persons, particularly the elderly.
"Some of the things we do as a church, that building wouldn't be able to facilitate. From last year we want to a do a health fair to assist some of the elderly. We want to have a day of kindness, where we have healthcare workers coming in to help, and that sort of stuff. We don't have a building that can accommodate all that, because having the elderly go up the steps is very difficult," Black said.
He said a new structure will be able to seat more than 400 people. The church currently has about 50 members. The foundation of the new building is nearing completion and the walls of the first floor are fully erected, but they are unfinished, and there is no roof.
"We have members coming out every Sunday and we are trying to do our best to gather funds to buy materials. We're serious about it and want to be here by July. I don't know how it's going to happen, because it's an uphill task, and we don't have the money. But we're moving by faith, so we'll see if we can accomplish it," he said, Black said, emphasising that, the church will be better able to serve the community when the renovations are completed.