Dr. Patrick Allen, president, West Indies Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, led out in dedication service for the Filadelfia Seventh-day Adventist Church on 22 January.
Dr. Allen, who presented a powerful sermon which resonated with the congregants, is the spiritual leader for more than 240,000 Adventists.
Chief Secretary George McCarthy headed the list of officials in attendance at the church, which is located on Rosemary Street, Prospect, George Town.
Mr. McCarthy commended the Cayman Islands Conference for planting the church in Prospect, which is one of the fastest growing communities in Grand Cayman.
Next, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, president, Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, presented a special award to Mr. Peter Campbell in the memory of his father, the late Roy Campbell, who led out in the construction of the church. Mr. Campbell donated his labor.
Other church officials in attendance included: Pastor Derek Bignall, Executive Secretary, WIUSDA; Pastor Wilton McDonald, Executive Secretary, CICSDA; and Mrs. Sheila Woods, Treasurer, CICSDA. Pastor Joseph Thompson Kelly is the pastor for the Filadelfia Seventh-day Adventist Church.
About Filadelfia Adventist Church
The Filadelfia Seventh-day Adventist Church began as an idea in the minds of several Spanish-speaking Adventists in the decade of the 1980s on the island of Grand Cayman. These members held church membership in the various churches of the Cayman Islands Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. They saw a need to evangelize the growing Hispanic community, thus, the idea of a branch Sabbath School was born.
In 1988 Lambert Gallego and Jurgen Von Gerhardt began a branch Sabbath School ministry in Walters Road, George Town with 16 persons in attendance. This ministry continued every Sabbath for several months.
Then, in 1989 Joseph Thompson Kelly a graduate from the Adventist University of Costa Rica was asked to assist with this outreach.
After his first week of witnessing in Walters Road, Bro. Thompson Kelly coupled with Bros. Lambert Gallego and Von Gerhardt sought permission from the Mission’s administration to conduct a seminar at Bro. Gallego’s home.
However, Pastor Neville Scavella, president, Cayman Islands Mission of Seventh-day Adventists gave permission for the seminar to be held in the auditorium of Cayman Academy, formerly Edmer School.
Subsequently, Pastor Scavella preached the first sermon for the branch Sabbath School at Cayman Academy, which was translated into Spanish. Herman Amaya from Honduras presented the second sermon.
Next, Bro. Thompson Kelly led out in an evangelistic seminar, which lasted for several weeks.
At the culmination of this seminar nine precious souls were baptized. As a result, the branch Sabbath School was upgraded to a church company and Bro. Thompson Kelly was asked to work with the company fulltime.
The charter members of the company were: Bro. Von Gerhardt, Bro, Lambert Gallego, Bro. Alex Carias, Sis. Olga Naranjo, Sis. Nancy Clarke, Bro.and Sis. Douglas, Sis. Deysi, Bro. Franklin, Bro. Emilio Ramos, and Bro. Arturo Rodriguez. Afterward, Carlos Sierras’ family and the Brown family joined the company.
Soon after its organization, the company obtained two buses to transport members and visitors to the services. One bus was purchased by the Mission, and the other by Bro. Gerhardt. One bus transported people from Bodden Town and the other bus transported people from West Bay. Bro. Douglas drove the bus from Bodden Town and Sis. Naranjo from West Bay.
The company continued to grow with Spanish people from all over Grand Cayman. Bro. Ramos donated the first public address system to the fledging company.
By the end of 1989 Pastor Franklin Grant originally of Costa Rica was assigned as the pastor for this group. Pastor Grant gave dedicated service.
In 1991, under the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, president, Cayman Islands Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, this company officially became the Filadelfia Seventh-day Adventist Church. Following this, during the Twelfth Session of the Cayman Islands Mission Seventh-day Adventists the Filadelfia Seventh-day Adventist Church was accepted and voted into the sisterhood of churches by the delegates on April 23, 1992.
A few months earlier, on behalf of the Mission, Dr. Thompson purchased two parcels of land on Rosemary Street, off Marina Drive in Prospect to build a sanctuary for the growing congregation.
The construction commenced under the dynamic leadership of the late Roy Campbell. Brother Campbell donated his labor voluntarily. He lay out and poured the foundation for the church. He supervised the construction process up to roof before succumbing to a terminal illness.
At the request of Dr. Thompson, Pastor Willie Oliver of the North American Division organized three groups of high school seniors from the South Lancaster Academy in Boston coupled with skill builders to provide the bulk of the labor force for Brother Campbell.
These students worked hard beginning at 7.30am. At nights, they conducted revival services. They donated over US$15,000 collectively toward the construction of the Filadelfia Adventist Church.
A different batch of high school seniors from South Lancaster Academy donated their labor for three years consecutively.
By 1997 the Filadelfia Adventist Church moved from its location at Cayman Academy and started worshipping in its own building, which was incomplete. This move was to facilitate the King’s Seventh-day Adventist Church, which was organized in 1997 after an evangelistic campaign by Evangelist Fitz Henry.
The members of Filadelfia were magnanimous in allowing the members of the King’s Seventh-day Adventist Church to use Cayman Academy’s auditorium.
The transition from Cayman Academy, which is located on Walkers Road, to the Filadelfia Adventist Church, which is located on Rosemary Street, had its challenges. For example, church services were conducted in a building without doors, windows, and ceiling. Members had to cope with mosquitoes at night and the heat in the day.
However, the love for God and His work was stronger than mosquitoes or heat. The members used the inconveniences as a catalyst to finish the building.
By 2000, Pastor Reinaldo Dracket succeeded Pastor Franklin Grant as the pastor for the Filadelfia Adventist Church. Pastor Dracket worked just as hard as his predecessor.
During Pastor Dracket’s tenure the following persons contributed to the building program: Ramon Brown, Ramon Martinez, Alex Carias, Arturo Rodriguez, Weeward Hurlston, Hardie Hurlston, Noel Jackson, McCleary Frederick, Bridgelal Ramoutar (electrician), Maria Connolly, Lydia Wood, and Victoria Watson (cooked food for the workers). Mr. Arnold Berry drew the architectural plans.
The building was almost completed by 2004. But then Hurricane Ivan inflicted its fury on Grand Cayman in 2004 and Filadelfia sustained its share of losses. In the immediate after math of Ivan, Pastor Joseph Thompson Kelly, who is a skilled building contractor, was appointed as the district pastor for the Filadelfia Adventist Church. He was also appointed as pastor for the Maranatha Adventist Church.
Prior to Ivan, the Maranatha Adventist Church was housed at the South Sound Civic Centre. However, after Ivan this facility was no longer available. And so, once again, the Filadelfia Adventist Church members unanimously agreed to share its building. This time on a rotating basis for worship services with the Maranatha Adventist Church.
Consequently, Pastor Kelly used his building skills to complete this beautiful building. Likewise, he used his evangelistic skills to coordinate the conversion of many souls.
For example, in 2006 Filadelfia Adventist Church was the first congregation to reach and to double its evangelistic goal in the Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Ebenezer!