Bermudian pastor tells of his life’s journey serving God
When retired pastor Vernon Lowe jettisoned plans of becoming a professional golfer, sold his home and abruptly left Bermuda to heed “God's calling”, many figured he'd completely lost his mind.
“People thought I was crazy,” he recalls with a smile. “But the call from God was so authentic that I knew no matter what anyone else would say I had a journey to make.”
Mr Lowe obeyed the call and moved to New York in 1956 to prepare himself for God's ministry.
“The purpose of God calling me was beyond my ability to comprehend what was happening,” he said. “I was all alone and he said ‘Vernon, I want you to leave this country and go to the United States and prepare myself for his ministry'.
“I had been living in the house I built with my own two hands for two or three years and when I told my wife (the late Eunice Alicia Lowe) I have to sell the house and God is telling me to go away, she said I am gone crazy and lost my mind. She said ‘I'm not leaving this Island' so I said ‘well, God called me, I'll see you in about ten years.'”
Mr Lowe, 86, left Bermuda with his son Michael and moved to New York where he was later joined by his pregnant wife who gave birth to the couple's youngest child, Robert Reese Lowe, who followed in his father's footsteps and became a pastor.
Mr Lowe, the first president of Ocean View Golf Club, is convinced that it was God's will for his youngest child to be born on US soil.
“God wanted him to be born in New York, not here,” he insists. “God brought my wife and I and our children to the United States for the purpose for which he is now serving. He built a church that seats 80 people and now he's building another church that will seat 1,200 because the congregation has grown so much he has three services.
“There was specific purpose for me to move from this Island to the United States so that this son could be born there and have the pastor that he has now. And if I hadn't been obedient (to God) all of these members now that's been saved would've been held to my account because I failed to be obedient.
“As I sit in his congregation Sunday after Sunday sometimes tears come down my eyes, because now I am able to understand why God wanted me to leave Bermuda and go to New York to prepare myself.”
The former Southampton resident, who turns 87 next month, hammers home the importance of being obedient to God in a 138-page book fittingly titled ‘The Obedience Journey'. The book chronicles Mr Lowe's call to ministry, journey to obey God and the resulting consequences.
More than 400 copies of the 12-chapter book have already been sold in the United States since its release last year.
The book is partly dedicated to Mr Lowe's late wife and was written by reverend Carol E Dougherty-Steptoe, who is a proud recipient of the Peter Pauper Award for distinguished Writing.
“She was so excited as I talked to her about a book,” Mr Lowe said. “She said God has inspired me to write the book for you and we sat down and went over various stories that's in the book and she compiled it.
“The book shows the obedience journey and the faith I had to apply to be where I was and where I am. It took ten months to a year to complete and everybody enjoys reading it because I have a sense of humour. There's a lot of humour in there from my boyhood days right along to the present time.”
Mr Lowe is the youngest of ten siblings raised by William and Hattie Lowe.
He is the brother of former Speaker of the House Stanley Lowe and former golf pros Earl and George Lowe.
The former Southampton resident previously worshipped locally at Vernon Temple AME where he was baptised.
After relocating in the United States, Mr Lowe served as president of the National Connectional Council of Presiding Elders Worldwide in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“That was quite an accomplishment and at the time I never got excited about it, so now that I am retired I get excited,” he said. “To think that I became president of the Connectional Council of Presiding Elders was like next to being a bishop.”
Mr Lowe was also Presiding Elder over three districts and pastored as many congregations in the New York Conference prior to his retirement several years ago.