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The Caribbean island nation of Grenada is the most southerly of the Windward Islands, lying off of the coast of Venezuela, not far from Trinidad. Measuring only about 21 miles north to south and 12 miles east to west, the main island of Grenada covers an area of 131 sq miles (340 sq km). Two smaller islands, known as the Southern Grenadines-Carricou and Petite Martinique- are also a part of the state. Initially populated by Caribe Indians the advent of European settlers in the seventeenth century signaled a change in population. Christopher Columbus visited the island in 1498 but the Caribe Indians managed to fight off invaders until the French settlers arrived in the 1650s and subsequently established sugar-producing plantations worked by slaves brought from Africa. Today the population of Grenada numbers about 100,000 with almost 85% of the population being of African ancestry. The British took control by 1762 and established a colony that lasted until independence in 1974. Since that time the government of Grenada has been contested with a communist coup, an American intervention and rivalry for control by several different political parties. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is the Constitutional Monarch of Grenada with legislative power based in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Known as the “Spice Island” Grenada is the world’s largest producer of nutmeg and mace. Other exports include cocoa and bananas. Attempts to diversify the economy have not been successful though there is some activity in food processing. Tourism was once a larger factor in the development of the state but with the political crisis of the early 1980s that has ceased, though it was gradually recovering until Hurricane Ivan hit in the fall of 2004.
Traceable to the French colonial times of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is the large Roman Catholic population; about 65% of the population is Catholic. A little more than 25% claim Anglican, Pentecostal or Seventh Day Adventist traditions while the remaining population is from numerous other traditions.
The summer of 1969 saw the initial advent of the Stone Campbell Movement being made in Grenada. At that time two brothers of the a cappella Churches of Christ tradition, Clayton and Sam Soleyn of Saint Vincent visited the island. By the end of the summer three people had been baptized and worship services were being conducted. Clayton Soleyn made an appeal for others to come join the efforts. The next year Ernest Roberts, a native of Dominica and a graduate of Caribbean Christian College in Puerto Rico came to Dominica to begin a work that resulted in a permanently established church in St. George’s. For more than a dozen years he labored to plant churches. Other congregations were planted by other leaders; Theophilus St. Louis formed a congregation at St. David’s, Francis Noel worked at Concord and Leroy George labored at Grand Anse. Campaigns were held on the island led by Dorice Mitchell in 1971-72 and Don Starks in 1975. Also in 1972 Kaso Ramcharitar of Trinidad began to work in Grenville with the sponsorship of the Pascagoula, Mississippi church of Christ. American missionaries Vaughn and June Minor went to Grenada in 1983 but were forced to terminate their efforts at the time of the U.S. invasion. While as many as 2,000 individuals had been baptized by 1990 less than 300 were then identified as participating in ten congregations throughout the island. No current statistics are available.
A few years after the invasion of Grenada two missionaries couples from the American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ became interested in the island and began a work there in September of 1986; they were Hank and Pat Davis and Jim and Becky Newman. The early days of their work consisted of Bible studies and English reading lessons for those who lacked formal education. This was done in the mission homes because the local Roman Catholic churches were successful in blocking the missionaries’ attempts to rent schools or community centers for their outreach programs. By 1989 a piece of land for a church site was purchased near the city of St. George’s and building teams from Florida, Ohio and Virginia went to Grenada to construct the first small building for the Jean Anglais Chrisitan Church. By 1996 the congregation had grown to the extent that a larger building was also constructed on the site. Other work groups have come to Grenada to conduct Vacation Bible Schools, engage in manual labor, teach and preach.
By 1990 Hank and Pat Davis had retired from the work and were temporarily replaced by Mike and Dadra Smith for a two year term. Louis and Patsy Hall, sixteen-year veteran missionaries to Haiti, transferred to Grenada in about 1994. The goal of all of these missionaries was to establish strong, self-supporting congregations looking forward to a time when there would be no need for foreign missionaries. In the summer of 1996 the first two local men to be set apart and ordained to the ministry were Roger Edwards and Rodney Thomas. Others have since been trained as teachers. Current statistics for the work in Grenada are unavailable.
In September of 2004 Hurricane Ivan, now known as “Ivan the Terrible” hit Grenada with full-force. The island was almost totally destroyed with 90% of all houses and buildings being damaged or destroyed. Caribbean International Christian Mission under the direction of Kenroy Clarke, missionary in Barbados, was able to supply some emergency supplies including water and food. They were also able to help repair at least two church buildings.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1101 19th Avenue, South, Nashville, TN 37212-2112 (USA)
Telephone: (615) 327-1444
Website: http://www.discipleshistory.org (provides links to other historical sites and databases).
Online catalog: http://voyager.discipleshistory.org
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see:
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ
Lawshe Church of Christ/East Caribbean Evangelism
Jim and Becky Newman
P.O. Box 504
St. George’s Grenada
Telephone: (809) 444-1224
Fax: (513) 386-2572
In the United States contact:
M/M Gene Toole
845 Silcott Rd.
Seaman, OH 45679
For a list of many Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (in the United States) missionaries/ministries see:
Mission Services Association
7545 Hodges Ferry Road, Knoxville, TN (USA) 37920
Telephone: 1 (800) 655-8524
Fax: 1 (865) 573-5950
Caribbean International Christian Mission
Kenroy Clarke, Barbados