Devoted to friendly church by the Sound’
Elder the Reverend Maureen Clemendor was a child when her faith was ignited through the ministry at St Philip AME Church.
Her family started attending the Smith’s church after they moved to a home on nearby Hermitage Road.
They were immediately welcomed by the congregation and enjoyed the family-friendly atmosphere.
“As active members of St Philip’s our lives were changed first, and most importantly, in our knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of our lives,” Ms Clemendor said. “Whilst life was not always easy, we had the assurance that, thanks to our faith in God and the Godly counsel of those around us, things would work out.”
She recalled how church members in those days were loving, yet stern.
“Growing up we were taught to treat people how we wanted to be treated,” she said. “The mothers and fathers of the church didn’t tell you things to ‘tickle’ your ears, they gave it to you ‘straight up’. In time, I came to appreciate the words of wisdom and nuggets which were imparted.”
Ms Clemendor is just one of the many people whose lives have been positively impacted by St Philip.
Nicknamed ‘The Friendly Church by the Sound’, it will celebrate its 133rd anniversary at 11am tomorrow, with a special service by Reverend Conway Simmons.
The great-grandson of Solomon James Simmons, one of the early pastors of the church, he will base his message on a passage of scripture found in Hebrews 11:1 and 2. The sermon will emphasise how important faith is to overcoming the many trials that cross one’s path.
“Seeing St Philip AME Church celebrate 133 years of ministering in the community means a lot to me personally, because my great-grandfather pastored the church when it was in its infancy,” he said.
“This was also the first church I preached at as a teenager outside of my home church, St Paul AME Church. St Philip AME Church was then under the pastorate of Reverend Cyril Butterfield who invited me to preach one day for Youth Sunday.”
The church started in Tucker’s Town however was forced to move to its present location at 102 Harrington Sound Road by an Act of Parliament.
Mr Simmons said: “Many people living in the Tucker’s Town area were forced to sell their property or had it confiscated. The Furness Withy Steamship Company purchased our original place of worship and the present location was dedicated on June 3, 1926.”
Despite those challenges, St Philip remained steadfast in its commitment to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the community.
“To me it is a privilege to be part of the continuing legacy,” said Ms Clemendor, now the church’s Christian Education Director.
“St Philip’s has always advocated for holistic growth and development of its members. Over the years, I have seen people enter through our doors and watched them blossom into ministry and take on various leadership roles in the church.
“Young people have grown into respectable and responsible citizens of Bermuda and the world. The church has been the village that has helped to shape the lives of ministers, pastors, politicians, optometrists, awesome event planners, bold evangelists, business owners, musicians, interior designers, graphic artists, chefs, social workers and much more.”
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