The trumpets blared in fanfare and the dancers cavorted in celebration, signifying the commencement of the Golden Jubilee yearlong celebrations of the Antioch Baptist Church, at St. Johnston Village.
The event, coincided with the annual “Watch Night” service held on 31st December 2012, and was witnessed by a church packed to capacity, as members, friends and well-wishers of the Baptist movement in St. Kitts all joined support and celebration of this historic milestone.
The Baptist movement on St. Kitts officially began on Tuesday 5th March 1963 when twenty-two (22) born again believers, led by Pastor William Manasseh Connor, braved the criticisms of many and followed Christ in believer’s baptism. A formal service was then held in the evening and these believers all became charter members of the Antioch Baptist Church. Two months after the church was organized, Pastor William M. Connor was ordained on 19th May 1963 in the USVI, thus becoming the first pastor of the Baptist movement in St. Kitts.
In the providence of God, Pastor Connor went on to plant two other churches in St. Kitts; namely the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Lodge Village and the Calvary Baptist Tabernacle at St. Pauls Village.
The legacy left by Pastor William M. Connor is certainly being carried on by the present membership and during 2013 the Antioch fraternity will again be embarking on a capital project which will see the start of construction on its new Worship and Multi-Purpose Facility that will include a bigger Worship Sanctuary; Conference Room; Library and Bookstore; Classrooms; Medical Centre and Gym; Banquet Hall and an Early Childhood school facility.
The celebratory evening got on the way with a period of praise and worship followed by the observing of a moment’s silence in memory of those of the membership who passed over the years. The congregants then had the inimitable pleasure of hearing a portion of a vintage Old Year’s Night message of 1989 by Pastor William Connor deceased.
Brief remarks were then offered by the Parliamentary Representative, Mr. Sam Condor, Deputy Prime Minister. In his address, Minister Condor, noted the positive impact that the church has made on the community and society through the preached word, its outreach missions and the lives that were changed as a result. Also addressing the congregation was the 50th Anniversary committee chairperson, Sis Jean Condor, who placed in perspective the reason for the celebrations and outlined a number of events that will take place to commemorate the jubilee celebrations.
Current pastor, Rev Lincoln Connor, after welcoming the congregants, embarked on what was considered as a message that gave hope and comfort to those listening of the assurances of great things by God.
His text taken from Psalm 126:3 and his message entitled “The Sunny Memories of the Lord’s Goodness”, Pastor Connor outlined a three point sermon touching on the fact that (1) Great things were done (2) The Lord did these great things (3) Great things were done for us.
At the end of the sermon the altar called challenged all to surrender to Christ in service and dedication of life. Sister Esther Hodge brought the curtains down in a mini-concert that had those present singing and dancing along, after which all present met outside under the erected tents for a period of refreshments as they spent another two – three hours eating, fellowshipping and proffering well wishes for the New Year.
The launch was hailed by many as a resounding success and many promised to be present at the other planned activities. The other events will include a Week of Prayer & Special Services; Parade of the Saints (Recognition of Foundation Members and Baptist Heroes); Jubilee Dinner and Awards at the St. Kitts Marriott; Thanksgiving Service and Awards; Youth Summer Festival and the Dedication of the Dr. William Connor Memorial Square on Infirmary Road.
The theme chosen for the golden jubilee celebrations is, Cherishing the Legacy, Championing God’s Cause.