History of the

George Town Wesleyan Holiness Church

By Dr. Curtis Barnett
22th May, 2011

Toward the beginning of 1925, Rev. Paul D. Ford, the superintendent of the Pilgrim Holiness church work in Jamaica, sailed to Grand Cayman and held meetings in George Town. The Pilgrim church in Milton, PA later financially supported a Caymanian, Mr. Elroy Arch, who entered the pastoral ministry. In 1927, Rev. Ford and his wife again visited the Cayman Islands and in this year preached and initiated the work in North Side and West Bay. The next year, Rev. Buell and Mrs. Lois Bingham arrived in Grand Cayman to oversee the work and nurture the churches in North Side and West Bay. They tried to carry on the work in George Town, but without ultimate success. Later, Rev. Halstead Dixon, born in Cayman Brac, and his wife, Hepsibah, originally from Bodden Town, Grand Cayman, came from Isle of Pines, Cuba to preach and pastor the work in North Side and West Bay.

Although some outreach was carried on in George Town in subsequent years, a continuing church work did not become a reality here until over half a century later when Rev. John Jefferson, Sr. decided to spearhead the effort and the work, with the agreement and blessing of the church board and the pastors, Rev. Brenda Wallick and Rev. Genie Dickerson, Bro. John presented the challenge to his home church in West Bay on Sunday morning the 3rd February, 1991.
The planting of the seed began the second week of April, 1991. A couple of outdoor evangelistic meetings were held at night, one at the corner of Shedden Road and Martin Drive, where Sis. Pauline Nunes assisted Bro. John, and another at the crossroads of Eastern Ave. and Godfrey Nixon Way, where Dr. Curtis Barnett also joined in assisting. Regular services were inaugurated at the George Town, Town Hall on the following Sunday morning.

On the 14th April 1991, Sis. Wallick preached, two women responded to the invitation to pray and seek God, as did two others the following Sunday. In these early days, Sis. Myrtle Bush lent some support; Alrey Ebanks and Costa Jefford attended regularly and Deanna Campbell, a teacher at Wesleyan Christian Academy, joined us as Sunday School teacher and co-worker.

Sis. Marilyn Jefferson was our main keyboard player from the beginning. After Miss Campbell was unable to continue with us in the following academic year, Sis. Forley Forbes joined us and taught the children and often led the worship. Later, after completing a term as Sunday School Superintendent in the West Bay church, Sis. Christine Barnett, wife of Dr. Curtis, and their three children, joined the team.
From the outset, the church-planting team has been mindful of Jesus Christ’s command to “go and make disciple of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Team members have made frequent visits to many homes and individuals in the George Town communities a regular part of this ministry. All the members of the team have been involved in this, but especially Bro. John and often Dr. Barnett along with him in the early years of the church work. The team often held open-air meetings as well as services in the homes of people like Mrs. Brenda Holness. Mrs. Andylane Marsh and Mr. Garland Scott.

Bro. John has been the main preacher at such meetings, but a number of visiting preachers have also proclaimed God’s message in open-air services, such as Rev. Ronald Benjamin, Rev. John Case, Rev. Henry Ewen and Dr. Job Ward.

Over the years, crusade meetings and revival services were held, with special speakers like Rev. Gerald Bustin, Rev. Dennis Delisser, Bro. Kim Evans, Rev. Gershom Gray, Rev. George Holley, Rev. Jack Hooker, Rev. Conway King, Rev. James Plank, Rev. Byron Powery, Rev. Vernon Schokley, Rev. Betty Skates, Rev. Marshall Smart, Mr. Lloyd Steven, Rev. Marion Walker and Rev. Paul Wolfe.
In addition to the core team members, other brethren and guests who have shared the word in our services include Laten Bush, Joseph Crawford, John Croft, Sr., Olsen Daniel, Marc Dodrill, Adrian Duttry, Merlin Ebanks, Mitch Exctain, Ed Gibson, Reina Jefferson, Anthony Kahn, Etienne Lombard, Kenneth Melville, Steve Menzies, Helbert Rodriguez, Sawak Sarju, Jen Seymour, Fitz Wilson and Olive Walker.


A van was purchase for $1,400 a couple of months after the ministry began in George Town. Although it was a challenge that gave considerable mechanical problems, the van enabled us to meet some of our early transportation needs. The fellowship was able to purchase a larger van in January, 1996, mostly with the assistance of community donors. Unfortunately, this vehicle was not the most reliable and incurred costly repair expenses, so that transportation remained a challenge and was accomplished by three or four members who used their own cars to bring in other people.
In 2006, Bro. John Jefferson, Jr. acquired a minibus which he drove for a while to assist in the church’s transportation needs.
Our first regular meeting place was the town hall in George Town, which we rented for Sunday morning and evening services and sometimes for prayer meetings. However, because rental of the town hall was relatively costly for the small group that met for prayer meetings, the Fellowship soon ceased meeting there and instead held prayer meetings in the building which Dr. Barnett rented for his music business. This went on from the second half of 1991 until March, 1992. A number of Hispanics, mainly from Honduras, attended services, mostly Sunday nights. Dr. Barnett regularly interpreted Br. John’s sermons into Spanish. Among those that came was a young pastor, Edilberto Ruiz.
In a fairly short while, the number of Hispanics grew and they preferred to meet independently, briefly under the Fellowship aegis initially, but eventually they moved out on their own to more convenient quarters. From time to time, other organizations, particularly the Assembly of God, also rented the town hall for Sunday activities and therefore pre-empted our regular use of it, in accordance with the government’s rental policy.
On several such occasions, the Fellowship held Sunday School and worship service in Chef John’s Cabana or hut restaurant on the beach. After the meetings, we let the children wet their feet and have a little fun. We also had an occasional fellowship meal and picnic there. With the assistance of the few adults in the church, Bro. John sometimes took the children out for snacks and to various beaches and on picnics and outings to places such as the Botanic Gardens and the Airport Park.

We continued in the town hall for about four-and-a-half years, until the government informed us that the Court needed extra space, especially for juvenile court, and they had designated the town hall for that. Considering the fact that increased crime and disobedience to authority and the law was the cause of expanded court activity, one might conclude that sin drove the church out of the town hall. So in November, 1995, we moved to Sis. Marilyn Jefferson’s shop on Shedden Road. Sis. Marilyn faithfully shifted racks and clothes every Saturday evening and prepared the little place for Sunday services. A goodly number of worshippers packed themselves into the transformed shop for services, as many as 64 on one occasion. We stayed at the shop until we acquired property for a church building.

With the help of a loan of about seven thousand dollars in addition to the fifteen thousand the congregation had in its treasury, we acquired the property on Anthony Drive on the 24th September, 1996. There the Fellowship began meeting on 26th April, 1998 under a flapping plastic canopy which hardly kept the rain from falling on them and did little to mitigate the thermal effects of the midday sun. The open tent allowed us to have an open witness, and the Lord blessed there. The highlight at the tent was the conversion of Sis. Joycelyn Myles and Sis. Frances Davito.
On the 20th June, 1997, a ground-breaking service was held which was a happy occasion on which several key supporters were present. Actual construction did not begin, until eight months later.
Construction of the church building, under the supervision of Joel Gonzalez, began in early 1998. After the roofing plywood was put on, we left the tent and moved into the building on 16th May, 1999. It was only a shell, but we were thankful for walls and for a high floor and more protection overhead. It took a long time to get windows installed. There was no funds to keep building continuously and so construction of the church building dragged on for many months, but were finally able to dedicate the building on Sunday, the 9th September, 2001. It was a service of thanksgiving to God for what the pastor and church people, the supporters and workers were able to accomplish.

Since then, we have continued to encourage each other in the faith and we have sought to lead others into God’s kingdom. A number of visiting preachers have joined us in the effort, as well as some groups: A team came down from Nova Scotia, Canada in March, 2002; eight students from God’s Bible School held Vacation Bible School in July, 2003, and a team of eleven brothers and sisters from Jamaica were with us the week before Hurricane Ivan came on 11th Sept., 2004.

The following year the Church gave some financial support to Claudia, one of the young ladies from this group, who went on a missions trip to Kenya, East Africa. The Church later gave support to Sherreka Nunes, another person from the Jamaican team and to her husband, Chris, as they both attended Bethany Bible College in Canada. Sherreka did her internship at our church from June, 2008 to March, 2009. The church has organized Vacation Bible School many summers using local workers, mainly under the leadership of Sis. Christine Barnett. From 2008 until 2010, Barry and Gertie Mason from the United States have led VBS, with the assistance of several of the church’s ladies.
Hurricane Ivan did considerable damage to the building in September 2004, especially to the roof and the ceiling and the sheet rock inside. Thanks in part to a donation from other churches in the Eastern Caribbean, we were able to pay for repairs.

From 2006 until 2009, the Hispanic church (God’s Ambassadors) under the leadership of Pastor Ruiz, rented our facilities to carry on their ministry. We held several services jointly with them. Rev. Jefferson was officially ordained by a little denomination in Indiana, USA in 2007, and continued as pastor while we searched for someone to succeed him. Indeed we now have a new pastor, Bro. Dennis Delisser, who together with his wife, Dawn and son, Dennis, came from Jamaica on 5t11 Nov., 2010. Bro. Delisser was officially installed on 6th January, 2011 by the General Superintendent of the Caribbean Conference, Rev. Carlston Christie. Since the beginning of the church’s ministry in 1991, a good number of people have experienced our witness. Some have become believers and followers of Jesus, some have been baptized and several have become faithful members of the congregation. Under the leadership of the new pastor, the Wesleyan Women International auxiliary has been organized, Wesleyan Youth meetings are held, led by the young teenager, Sis. Kaitlyn Bush and an usher corps, headed by Diane Rankin have been established. Mindful of its obligations to the community at large, the church has started a trade school under the leadership of Pastor Delisser and Bro. Larry Powell, a faithful member of the congregation. Volunteers give instruction in block-laying, concrete work, other construction techniques and in electrical work. There are also plans to teach plumbing. This work was inaugurated on 3rd May, 2011. It has caught the attention of the television media and others, including the government. The Deputy Governor visited the school this past week. Today the church continues, most of all, to thank God, for the good and great things he has done, and for his on-going work of building the church, the body of believers who have repented of sin, asked God to forgive them through Jesus Christ, and who live righteous lives with the help of God’s Holy Spirit. May what the scripture says in Eph 4:16 be true of this church, as indeed of the entire body of Christ: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”