St Luke’s honours Derrick Smith and wife for 50 years of marriage

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FIFTY years after their marriage as young adults attending the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), former Member of Parliament Derrick Smith and his wife, Karleen (nee Grier), returned to St Luke’s Church in Cross Roads, St Andrew last Sunday, to share in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the construction of the current church building.

The Smiths shared a special service for the Slipe Road-based church with members who had achieved some milestone or the other in 1968, when the new building was consecrated.

Smith, a Methodist, who attends the Saxthorpe Church, Constant Spring Road, St Andrew, was again quite willing to share the hospitality of the Anglican congregation, as was the case 50 years ago when he conceded and tied the know in St Luke’s Anglican environment.

Smith has spent close to 40 of his 50 years of marriage in politics, serving the last 29 as Member of Parliament for St Andrew North Western where he never lost an election. He served as president of the St Andrew Jaycees in Jamaica in 1975, and as president of Jaycees of Jamaica in 1978 before becoming president of the West Indies Jaycees and later a member of the Jamaican Senate.

His wife, a prominent businesswoman, heads K&S Catering in Kingston. They have three sons, including Duane, the Councillor for the Chancery Hall division of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation.

Sunday’s service, titled “Last Sunday’s Liturgy of Festival Evensong: 50th Anniversary and Re-Dedication of the Church was officiated by the Venerable Patrick Cunningham, archdeacon, Kingston Region, and rector, St Luke’s. The preacher was the Very Rev Franklyn Jackson, dean of St Andrew; assisted by Assistant Curate, Rev Elizabeth Riley.

Performances included children from the church’s outreach programme, the St Simon’s Basic School in nearby Jones Town, who are being mentored by a group of German musicians known as “Musicians without Borders”, as well as dancers from the church group, Tiffany Campbell and Jordan Wilson.

In addition to the Smiths, four other persons were honoured — Michele Abigail Reynolds, who was baptised there on April 17, 1968; Howard Facey and Garth McBean, who were confirmed on June 4, 1968; and Evangeline Martin, who was confirmed on October 23, 1968. The Smiths were married on December 7, 1968.

The church’s history states that it began under a tree in Cross Roads, before a small wooden chapel was built in 1875 to accommodate Sunday services, a day school and a Sunday school. The current building was constructed in 1968 at a cost of $120,000 for 1,000 worshippers, and furnished with a Baldwin organ, which was replaced with an Allen electronic computerised organ in 1992.

In 1988, it was extended to provide a conference room, offices and bathroom facilities.

In his sermon, the Rev Jackson reminded the congregation that the church was not confined to the worshippers inside, but was extended into the surrounding communities, which have benefited from its various outreach activities. However, he noted that it was the cradle for many Christians who are serving God.

“We thank God for all those who were responsible for the building of this space, and hope that those who use it now do so with the same reverence that was felt when it was being built,” he stated.

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