Four Paths United A milestone ministry spanning many generations
Founded in 1834, the Four Paths United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, formerly the Four Paths Congregational Church, is regarded as the oldest congregational church on the island. The religious organisation, founded by English missionary, Reverend W.G. Barrett, stands as a combination of three congregations, including Beulah in New Longville, Clarendon, and Victoria Town, Manchester.
Head of the Four Paths United Church, Reverend Anthony Wallace, described the church as historic, stating that the organisation’s contributions has spanned many generations and has preserved cultural values.
Citing his pride in being affiliated with the historic religious institution, Wallace, the church’s 27th pastor, said: “This church is historic, it is a milestone ministry that has touched several generations. It (the church) has become a landmark, not just in Four Paths or Clarendon, but in Jamaica, as it is the oldest congregational church.”
Noting that the church’s 186th year will be observed under the theme of evangelism and outreach, the pastor said that he hopes that his congregation of more than 100 members will increase by at least 20 per cent.
“[The year] 2020 has started as the year of evangelism, so the church can grow spiritually, numerically and financially and also make an impact in the community. We also want to reach the youths more,” he added, stating that the church has added more social activities to its agenda, on its quest to be more ‘appealing to the younger people’ as youths account for a small percentage of the congregation.”
Describing Four Paths United as a community church, Wallace asserted that the religious entity has held true to its humanitarian mandate of social altruism. “The church and the community are very close. It is the community church, and we are engaged in the community’s lives,” he said, noting that the church offers weekly counselling sessions as a part of its mission of being stewards for Christ.
“This year, we intend to become more involved with the community to see where we can help curb crime and violence through mediation and the rehabilitation of youths.”
The church also boasts about being the founding organisation of educational institutions across the island, including the neighbouring Four Paths Primary and Junior High, Clarendon College in Chapelton, Clarendon, and the Spaldings-based Knox College.
Wallace refuted claims that the Four Paths-based organisation is one for members of a particular socio-economic status. “People say our church is for the rich, but this church is for everyone. We are inter-congregational and we cater to everyone.”
He said that Four Paths United has a mandate to preserve its history, and this is honoured through documentation and regular teachings, which serve to chronicle the rich history of the religious organisation.