Retired builder helps church

The Lord does, indeed, answer prayers.

And sometimes he does it through the Caymanian Compass.

Just ask members of the Wesleyan Holiness Church in North Side.

Breaking ground for new parsonage

Pastor Conway King watches as contractors Desmond Dyer, wearing hard hat, and Garfield C. Ebanks break ground for the new parsonage. Photo: Carol Winker

Last year the group sought publicity for its fund raising efforts to build a new parsonage.

They didn’t know where help would come from.

But just three months later, the construction of a parsonage is starting because retired contractor Garfield C. Ebanks saw their story in the Compass.

‘The Lord dealt with me and told me I needed to help,’ Mr. Ebanks said.

Coincidentally, one of his last projects before retiring was the construction of Wesleyan Holiness Church in West Bay in 2006.

The story of the North Side congregation’s efforts to replace their damaged parsonage ran in the Compass on 25 October. At the time, $64,000 had been raised.

Mr. Ebanks contacted Pastor Conway King and offered to help oversee the project. The two men met and went over building plans. Then they recruited Mr. Desmond Dyer, who had worked with Mr. Ebanks for years and now has his own construction business.

As a result, the men were scheduled to line out the new building this week Wednesday, setting pegs and string and marking with chalk so that a backhoe can come in and do the trenching.

Mr. Ebanks estimated that the project would take five months to complete.

To mark the occasion, church members held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday and feted the people who helped build the first parsonage some 64 years ago.

They included Mrs. Louise Ebanks, Ms Sarah Ebanks, Ms Viola (Fanny) Ebanks and Rev. Jarold Smith, now retired, who preached his first sermon in the old mission house.

Ms Patricia Ebanks was not yet born then, but she knows enough district history to speak of those early efforts. There was no heavy equipment, so men carried mahogany out of Forest Glen on their shoulders, she told the gathering. There was no crushed rock, so children gathered small pebbles from the beach.

‘So many hands made light work,’ Ms Ebanks summarised. ‘Everything was debt-free when they turned the key.’ She prayed that church members would be able to say the same at the end of this project.

Later, Ms Cassandra Ebanks, a member do the church board, said funds for the project now stood at $70,000 and several people have offered to donate materials.

New spades were used for the ceremonial ground breaking, with Pastor King, Mr. Garfield Ebanks and Mr. Dyer being the first to dig into the soil behind the church. District MLA Edna Moyle took a turn, along with representative members of the church board.