United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands


The United Church in Cayman Celebrates 170 Years

Last week the Cayman Islands Regional Mission Council of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands celebrated its 170th Anniversary of mission and ministry in the Cayman Islands. The United Church is the former Presbyterian Church of Grand Cayman. From the 4th – 9th of September Congregations of the United Church hosted events to celebrate the history of the Presbyterian Church and all its contributions to the Cayman Islands in Education, Government, and Ministry.

The 170th Anniversary Week of Celebration began on Sunday the 4th of September at the John Gray Memorial United Church which hosted “A Journey Through 170 Years”. Their event highlighted the history of Cayman and the life of the people particularly women. The women of the church performed a dramatization of the poem “Women of Brick” written by Ms. Betty Ebanks, showing the struggle of the Caymanian women and how much this struggle has not changed. The History of the Presbyterian Church in Cayman was shared through a re-enactment of the Rev. James Elmslie (performed by Mr. Bryan Bothwell) sharing his testimony of the trials he faced in establishing the Presbyterian Church in Grand Cayman. Members of the Congregation also shared the triumphs and accomplishments the Presbyterian Church made in helping to establish an education and legislative system in Cayman.


The Week of Celebration continued on Tuesday the 6th of September in the East End and Gun Bay Charge as they presented “A Dramatic History of the United Church”, indeed it was quite dramatic. The play focused on the union of the United Church by its three antecedents: Presbyterian, Congregational, and Disciples of Christ. The audience laughed from beginning to end as the comedy smoothly gave the history of the Church in the most entertaining way. The East End and Gun Bay congregations had various “old time” Caymanian artifacts on display and ended the evening with a buffet style of good “old time” food and desserts along with delicious tamarind juice and swanky.


The George Town Charge consisting of Elmslie Memorial United Church and South Sound United Church hosted a Potluck Social for the United Church’s 170th Anniversary Celebration, which took place on Wednesday the 7th of September. The evening was a wonderful time to reflect on the growth of Elmslie Memorial and South Sound United as well as cherish memories from the past. Fond memories were shared through a slideshow of pictures and by members sharing funny stories and jokes about the Elmslie Church bell and the eccentric Minister Rev. George Hicks. A tribute to Cayman’s heritage was done by Elmslie’s dance ministry as they performed the Quadrille. The most anticipated moment of the evening was getting to taste the vast spread of food, which was thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended.


On Thursday the 8th of September the Webster Memorial United Church and William Pouchie United Church hosted a lecture and discussion by Mr. Roy Bodden. Members across the Congregations attended to hear the insightful words and discussion Mr. Bodden shared about the history of religion in the Cayman Islands and the Presbyterians’ contribution to education, culture, and tradition in Cayman. Mr. Bodden applauded and expressed how impressed he was of the accomplishments of the Presbyterians and the United Church. He challenged the United Church to find a way of re-gaining the formula or strategy used in past to bring them to this point of 170 strong years as their strength to move forward in time where Churches (in general) are struggling to be present in the community.


Throughout the week of celebration, the history of the Presbyterians and the United Church was shared, cherished, and reflected. The celebrations came to a close with the Youth Explosion hosted at the Savannah United Church and the Robert Young Memorial United Church. Youth groups from all the Congregations joined at Savannah for an amazing time of fellowship, worship, fun, and sharing of history. The Savannah United Church Dance Ministry performed a dance item, and testimonies were shared by youth about their summer and the impact God had on them throughout it.


The Cayman Islands Regional Mission Council ended its celebration on Sunday, September 11, 2016 as it reflected on the establishment of the Presbyterian Church by Rev. James Elmslie on September 11, 1846. The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands has a rich legacy of ministry and mission in Cayman Islands which includes the nine Congregations, Cayman Prep and High School, and the Bethesda Counseling Centre. Though they have accomplished much through the 170 years, it is only the beginning of more growth, mission, and ministry in the Cayman Islands.

Posted by: Administrator Wednesday Sep 14, 2016 09:07
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United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands