Church History

The Mennonites in Jamaica, known as the Jamaica Mennonite Church started as a result of the efforts of two Canadian missionaries Bro. & Sis. Loewen and our local founding member, Simeon Walters. Worship services were held at 2B Whitehall Terrace, Kingston 8. On July 10, 1955, fifteen (15) members were received upon confession of faith and eleven (11) by baptism in the Kingston Harbour. In 1954 the Virginia Board of Missions, an arm of the Virginia Mennonite Conference, was asked to oversee the church in Jamaica. The Metzler family were the first missionaries appointed by Virginia to lead the Jamaican Church.

Ground breaking for the first Mennonite Church building in Jamaica, Good Tidings Mennonite,which is located at 5 Whitehall Avenue, Kingston 8, took place ion January 1957 and the church was dedicated April 14, 1957.

 On February 15, 1959, three persons were baptized and six received upon confession of faith at the Temple Hall Mennonite Church. In 1963 negotiations were in progress to purchase land to relocate the church on the highway side of the river so that it would be easier for persons to get to church. Ground breaking for the new church was April 2, 1967.

Local founding member, Bro. Simeon Walters held Sunday School for seven years in Red Hills, St. Andrew and he introduced missionaries from Virginia, Bro. Brunk,Bro. Metzler and Bro. Blosser to the location in July 1955. Open air meetings were held twice weekly by member of Good Tidings. The members at Red Hills raised money for their new church and they purchased a place near Sterling Castle Square. The Alpine Mennonite church building was dedicated on February 25, 1962, to accomodate the growing congregation.

In November 1957, a group from Good Tidings visited Retreat, St. Mary. Open air meetings were held weekly for about nine months. The first members of Calvary Mennonite Church was baptised in May 1960. On November 26, 1961 the church was dedicated.

Bethel Mennonite Church first service was held in Heartease on November 27, 1966. The church building was dedicatedin March 1971.

In August 1969 a group from Good Tidings visited Good Hope District in St. Elizabeth where theJoyland Mennonite Church is located, for the first open air service. Groups from Good Tidings continued to visits to Joyland  monthly for open air services. In July 1963, the Belnavis family moved from Kingston to Joyland where they held Sunday School at the basic school in the area. When the school was no longer available, meetings were held under a mango tree. Land was acquired for the church building  in July 1966. The building was dedicated on February 26, 1967.

The first service at Abrams Mennonite Church, was held standing under a tree until someone provided seats. Land was donated for the church building site, as well as the driveway. Ground breaking was on January 23, 1966. Other local JMC churches, as well as Mennonite churches overseas donated labour and financial assistance. On May 1, 1966 that church was dedicated Bro. Ransford Nicholson assumed pastoral leadership of both Joyland and Abrams Mennonite Churches in 1966.

Ocho Rios Mennonite Church started out of Calvary Mennonite Church who saw the need for Mennonite witness in the growing town of Ocho Rios. A Bible Study group started on the verandah of Calvary member, Bro. Colin Moulton. By 1971, the services were held in rented premises. In 1976 Bro. Barry Shand was installed as Associate Pastor. The new church building was dedicated onb March 23, 1975.

Waterloo Mennonite Church started on November 7, 1971 when thirteen persons met for service at the Peggy Memorial Home, located at 28 Upper Waterloo Road, Kingston 10. Bro. Kenneth Brunk was asked to lead this work in the affluent St. Andrew neighbourhood which was very challenging and much fasting and prayer was employed. In 1973  Bro. Elton Nussbaum became pastor at Waterloo.

Salters Hill Mennonite Church was started when members from Calvary Mennonite Church responded to a call from persons living in Salters Hill, St. James. Several car loads from Calvary went twice weekly to hold meetings in the community. Meetings were held in the new school building.Bro. Winston White and his wife Carmen became leaders of the new congregation.

Faith Mennonite Church which is located in Spanish Town St. Catherine started as an outreach of Good Tidings. Pastor Aston Jarrett assumed pastoral leadership of the church.

Ridge Mennonite Church, located in Top Hill St. Elizabeth

 Unity in Christ Mennonite Church, located in Old Harbour St. Catherine came under the banner of the Jamaica Mennonite Church in 2009 when Pastor Rupert Kennedy, who was affiliated with Faith Mennonite Church, requested that his group in Old Harbour be included as a Mennonite Congregation.

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