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Barbados


Map of Barbados

Barbados

World Convention is currently building a global reference for the  countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ Congregations. Of the 193 United Nations States, the Stone-Campbell Movement exists in 165. This listing includes other nations and territories, numbering 194 countries where there is at least one representation of our churches.

Rather than waiting for comprehensive, complete information we are putting up the details we have available. If you can correct or add to this information, please contact the World Convention Office with details at gary@worldconvention.org.

Background

Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean Windward Islands, located off the coast of Venezuela, and covers an area of about 430 sq km (166 sq miles). The island was originally settled by the Arawak Indians and was later visited by the Portuguese, Spanish and finally, the British in the seventeenth century who set up a colony on the island. The present-day population of Barbados is largely descendant from African slaves brought to the island to work in the sugar plantations established by the British. Becoming fully independent in 1966 Barbados now has a Parliamentary democracy two legislative bodies, the Senate and House of Assembly, and a governor-general who represents the British sovereign. Strong ties to the United Kingdom remain.

Sugar is yet a major component of the island economy, which is among the most highly developed and politically stable of the Caribbean islands. Tourism is rapidly growing and Barbados has become a hub of trade between the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas.

Religion

Barbados has over 150 religious groups and is said to have more church buildings per square mile than any other country in the world. Protestant groups account for approximately two thirds of the religious population (with forty percent of being Anglican) while the Roman Catholic tradition claims only a small percentage (4%). Approximately 17% of the population claims no religious affiliation.

Stone-Campbell Presence

The Stone-Campbell Movement came to Barbados through two distinct paths in the 1950s. In 1957 Winston J. Massiah left Tampa, Florida for Barbados to represent the a cappella Churches of Christ tradition. (Winston may have been a native of Barbados.) His evangelistic efforts soon produced a congregation, Worthing Church of Christ at Barbareese Hill. In the 1960s Massiah took some of the members and began a new church, Central Church of Christ, St. Michael, where he remained until his death in 1993. Through these congregations native leaders were trained up, including Samuel Archer and Rupert Griffith. Another, Michael Maurice Baptiste, became attracted to the Boston Movement and led several members to begin a new congregation. One tool employed in the cause in Barbados has been World Radio which sponsored broadcasts on the island. Presently four congregations are in existence, two in Bridgetown and one each in St. James and St. Michael.

Several ministries and congregations in Barbados are supported financially by the American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. In the early 1950s, Charles Leacock was a pastor in an Evangelical Church of God and became frustrated with certain doctrines and polity in that fellowship. In 1953 American Vernon Osbourne went as a missionary to the island. A church member who recognized the similarity between the teachings of the indigenous pastor and the missionary introduced the two and an association was formed. By 1956 American William (Bill) Gage was also in Barbados and together with Osbourne negotiated a government registration for the Churches of Christ thus allowing new congregations to be established. In 1958 Bill and Helen Scott began a fifteen year ministry in Barbados. When they returned to the U.S. in 1973 the churches were firmly established and in the hands of national leaders. Among those leaders is Kelvin Robinson and family in Bridgetown. Several of these early leaders were trained at various Bible colleges in the United States until the establishment of Lower Caribbean Bible College in 1980. Through cooperation with Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri L.C.B.C. offers associates degrees and certificates for elders, deacons and training courses for Sunday school teachers.

Other productive ministries have come to include a radio ministry, first begun in 1958, which has the capability of broadcasting to the whole of the Caribbean. In 1961 the Christian Service Camp was introduced in Barbados with almost immediate success. After several years in beach houses and local schools a permanent facility was constructed which can serve more than sixty campers a week. The camp is also used for social and recreational activities, united services and college classes. Because the Barbadian culture is traditionally a matriarchal society a well-developed women’s program is an integral part of the Churches of Christ in Barbados. Since 2009, Orvel  and Kandi  Griffith have worked in Barbados through Southeast Caribe Mission.

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a partnership with the Caribbean Conference of Churches http://www.ccc-caribe.org/eng/index.htm ,the recognized Regional Ecumenical Organization (REO) of the Caribbean and one of the major development agencies at work in the Caribbean today. Currently comprised of 33 member churches in 34 territories across the Dutch, English, French and Spanish speaking territories of the region, it was founded in 1973.

International Churches of Christ have a congregation in Bridgetown.

Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
November 2003

Revised by Gary Holloway, September 12, 2013, Revised February 10, 2014

For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.

Contact Information

A. National Office
B. Congregational Information

A cappella Churches of Christ

Jimmy Ben Bracken
P.O. Box 798, Bridgetown

Rupert Griffith
Plymouth Ave., Savannah Rd., Bush Hall, St. Michael
Telephone: 429-7648

Christian Churches and Churches of Christ

Lower Caribbean Christian Mission
Dale and Wendy Leacock
Box 193, Bridgetown
Telephone: 937-456-3460

New Testament Ministry to Barbados
Andrew and Sonia Best
Road A, Lower Carter’s Gap
Enterprise Church of Christ
Barbados, West Indies
Email: andrewsonia@sunbeach.net

C. Educational Institutions

Lower Caribbean Christian Mission
Dale and Wendy Leacock
Box 193, Bridgetown
Telephone: 937-456-3460

D. Social Service Ministries
E. Magazines/Periodicals
F. International Ministries
G. Conventions/Lectureships/Assemblies/Forums/Conferences
H. Points of Interest