United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands


(For those physically able to, this cannot be a substitute, however, for worshipping in church!)

What kind of Church is this? [However,] it clearly is a question all churches must ask ourselves every so often. Evidently Christ does, and in Revelation 2 and 3 we find that 70% of those 7 Churches he examined no longer met His required standards. Click here for full reflection.

“A Lame Man Healed” and so much more! - In this sermonette, the preacher stresses that Acts 3 is much more than an account of a ‘lame man healed’, as great a miracle as that in itself was. And suggests also that, “in a different context, 'Let them eat cake' might well be adopted by the Church to convey the radical generosity of our God". Click here for full sermonette.

God Loves You – a look at three aspects of this (from the ‘Flight to Egypt’ – St. Matthew 2) amidst the celebrations and, often, the challenges, within Christmastime and throughout the year:
1. It’s about God (as it was for the Wise Men) not because of us (as was Herod’s hospitality and interest) - letting others know why we are celebrating and giving.
2. It is for “you – even when you are fleeing home, or whatever reason your situation at Christmas is far from “merry”.
3. God reserves a critical role for us to make this a reality – as so many humans had to do that ‘First Christmas’, including those in Egypt who provided a refuge for the Baby Jesus and His family. 
Click here for full sermon.

Remembrance (Remembrance Sunday 2014) - Psalm 9: 15-18 & Micah 4: 1 – 5
So, what do we need to really bear in mind as we remember and give thanks today to both God and those who fought and died for the side of freedom and justice, as it is generally summed up, in past wars? Click here for full sermon.

"You are the Christ" - Matthew 16: 13-20
"As you embark on your next 87 years, if today’s backdrop seems similar to Caesarea Philippi, let us not forget that when Christ announced He would be forming His Church, He also made it clear He was turning things upside down – in order to turn the world back to right side up! A key question for us here tonight seeking to follow Christ and serve His Church is, are we doing enough to turn our world right-side up?" Click here for full sermon.

“When God Speaks” - Isaiah 55:11
“When God Speaks”, according to Isaiah 55:11, His word, “... will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” So the short (radio) sermon looks briefly both at the tremendous reassurance of this as well as whether we can ever say that God has not spoken? Click here for full copy.

“Living Witnesses” – 1 Peter 1: 3 – 9
I began this morning by deliberately not using the familiar terminology that Christ died to save us, but that He died so we could become living witnesses. For it is essential to look at His complete message. For full sermon, click here.

"Today I must stay at your house"  - Luke 19: 1 – 9 
Do you want to really see Jesus? In today’s Bible text, Jesus showed once again that when we want Him, nothing can block the way. Neither the crowd that tried to shush the cries of the blind beggar (Luke 18) nor the past sins of Zacchaeus and Saul – nor their social standing or ‘great learning’ - could bar them from His embrace. Likewise, neither your past nor anyone else can keep you away from Jesus. Only you. Will you let Christ in today? (Click here for further reflection on some things that might be blocking your view and some examples of how the path was cleared for Zacchaeus, St. Paul, the blind beggar and countless others ever since – for whom life was never the same again!)

“What do we mean by “recognise” anyway?” A look at the vexing question of our Digital Age - but in respect of the even more pivotal issue of the Ages, and through the lens of the Good News of Christmas. For though 'the world' might still not 'recognise Him' there are those whose identity is secure - for they know their 'eyes have seen Your Salvation'. Click to read fuill sermon.

Invest Resources (A sermon During Stewardship Month at John Gray Memorial Church, November 2013.)
Is the Christian (faithful steward) not expected to invest? And a look at the similarities – and differences – between investing in the Kingdom of God and business/financial investing:
1. Do you have plans for the future? (Certainly God has “a plan for you” – do you plan to be part of it? Jer. 29)
2. Is not investing your resources your greatest risk? (Mt. 25)
3. Attitude! Are you “investing” for a better future or risking it all by “holding back” for the present? (Malachi, 2 Cor. 9, etc.)
Will opportunities [for God’s Kingdom] drive your budgets or your budgets stall your opportunities? 
Click to read full sermon (slides not included).

"Do you have anything in your life/ that keeps reminding you of God’s presence and protection?" Click here for full sermon note.

"IF" - a different look at the Synod Theme, "Renewal and Transformation for LIFE!" 18-08-2013

do you keep calling me Lord, Lord, when you don’t do what I say?”  The author posits that if the prayers of the Synod Theme are going  to have the desired effect amongst the Church, each of us must be jolted back to the reality of this fateful question of Jesus, addressed to us, not as a question to His then followers in Galilee 2,000 years ago. They too would have been shocked that though they had followed Him, in increasing numbers, to that spot, and were calling Him their "Lord" over and over in praise, and probably waving their arms and shouting Amens, as we tend to do when we want to emphasise how 'sincere' we are in our worship, Jesus had just exposed their insincerity.
But the story is too fundamental to the human race to end there. And to correct it, we must address that tiny word at the centre of LIFE - "IF" - both as that pivotal word in the Bible, "if", and as the acronym for "Integrity" and "Faith" as used in the second meaning of our Synod theme. Click here for full sermon ext. 

Restored and Reformed

A closing look at Job on Reformation Sunday 2012. "God and His goodness and righteousness and the depth and breadth of His love which drives His caring concern into all areas of human life, is the same today as it was when tragedy befell Job; and as it was when the painful Church split of the 1500s gave birth to the Protestant Church. But ..." Click here for full sermon text.

Be filled with the Joy of the Spirit

“What exactly does it mean to be filled with the Joy of the Spirit? Secondly, how can we become so filled? And, thirdly, what then? For I don’t think there is any question that in Christianity there is always that third point – a call to action – to let the Living Water of Christ not only fill us but overflow to others in all sorts of ways!”
Without much luck in finding a direct quote in the Bible, but with some help from C S Lewis and his “Surprised by Joy” as well as the text for reflection, Ephesians 5: 5-10, the preacher seeks to answer the three questions he had posed above, in the context of the Cayman of summer 2012. Click here for sermon

Jonah’s Mission to Nineveh

“What does this ancient event mean for us, now, in the summer of 2012? And so far it has been quite a summer! Sometimes it seems we are as divided amongst ourselves as the Israelites and Ninevites of Jonah’s day were from each other! And not just strident polarisation. We had the one person one vote referendum, the kind of opportunity for the peaceful exercise of ‘people power’ that, literally, people are killing over in other countries. But here, the conquering winner was … apathy. Not those who were either for or against it, but apathy. Apathy and confusion perhaps; the two are often allies. And if you looked beyond Cayman, where, thank God, all was non-violent, to perhaps the European Community or the United States, the level of discord was even worse. “ Click here for full reflection.

Bent, not Broken; Down, not Out ... scenic encouragement from Barcus Beach

Barcus (sometimes spelt “Barkers”) Beach on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, is regarded by many as a beautiful and idyllic place for long walks, picnics, kite surfing, horse riding, fishing and general ‘back to nature’ experiences. Its majestic casuarinas can be seen from miles away and used to be very handy for fishermen to use as ‘markers’ to find one of the channels in the reef. In one stretch all were toppled by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, leaving the root mass of the larger ones towering over people’s heads. It’s also home to many native species of trees (and plants), like the sea-grape, black, red and white mangroves, and the extremely fragrant soapwood tree. But the author of the attached pictorial sermon has recently realised there is another beauty here as well, the beauty of life taking new shapes, starting over, not giving up, in the face of both constant adverse forces as well as periodic storms. It seems they have a message of encouragement for all of us as we too face adversity and the storms of life, even what we might regard as the circumstances of birth, job cuts, and the many other challenges that sometimes arise in this beautiful, wonderful world God has given us. Click here for the ‘pictorial’ – (scene 2 also has sound, so you’d want your speakers on).

The Church in Thyatira – To whom and what are you loyal? Rev. 2: 18 – 29
It is sobering to think that as Christians go out in the world wherever we live, is our life such a mixed message that people look at me and have to wonder, as in our theme today, “To whom or what are you loyal?” God is not a God of compromises. As Jesus said, ‘if you want to serve me, you must follow me’. He remains resolute in that, as the feet of burnished bronze in today’s text suggest. Will people see that your loyalty, and my loyalty, lies with Him? And will our hearts and minds confirm this to the penetrating eyes of Christ? For the only way to follow Christ is to let Him change our hearts and the Holy Spirit renew our minds by filling our lives. To read full sermon, click here.

“Come, my young friends, and listen to me, and I will teach you to honour the Lord.” Psalms 34: 11 – 14 GNB/TEV [Worship the Lord 18.9.11]
As we think of the situation in our Island today, a line from a Bob Dylan song (quoted by Todd Burkhalter in “One Shot”), raises a sobering question: “How does it feel to be on your own with no direction home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone?” There is no valid excuse for any young person in our society not knowing the way home, home to Christ. But it is a tragic reality that many of them have no direction. And that in all this good life we have here, they do feel like a complete unknown, rather than a VIP child of God. And the consequences are obvious. To read full sermon, click here.

"Risky Business! The costs of being a Christian" - "God is love. God is also absolutely righteous. God sees and hears the heart. So that peril faced by Moses is very real for us as Christians today. Sincerity and integrity. It is why it is never sufficient for the Christian to ‘go and tell’ God’s message with words if what we do is not faithful to God and in obedience to His precepts. It is also not effective! That is one reason the Church is often not taken seriously or, increasingly in today’s world and today’s Cayman, held up to disbelief and contempt by so many. We hear you always preaching, we are told publicly, that God says to do so and so but we do not see you doing that. For the Christian, Moses’ question to God has become Jesus’ question to us, ‘Who do you say – by your actions as well as your explanations - that I am?’ That is a serious responsibility. And it can get complicated." See full sermon here.

"Taking Time to Know God" - "We wonder why it is that many of us who profess to be Christians, indeed are active in our churches, don’t match up when it comes to our lifestyles. And if we wonder, what do those outside the church think about us?" See full sermon here.

"God's Grace is for All" - "The good news, in fact the wonderful news, is that God’s Grace is for All. The bad news, the really tragic news, is that God’s Grace is not for all. And a third twist on this morning’s theme is that, for most of us, in some situations we’d like to ignore that good news, that God’s Grace is for All.
Let’s deal with the third twist first, our Jonah tendency..." See full sermon here.

"God in the City"“One way of rolling back [the weight of regulation the City is complaining about] would be to have a morality that inspired responsible behaviour and gained the trust of others. I feel, however, that we have passed the point where that will be possible.” See full talk here on the article from which this is quoted.

"Fullness of Life"
- Worship the Lord 13th February 2011. "The ultimate fullness of life that Jesus brings is the eternal life He assured us of if we truly believe in Him. But let us not ignore Christ's concern for people to have a "full life" in this world as well. See full sermon here.

"Holding Nothing Back (from God) demands a willingness to sacrifice our notion of what is the most important" 
 - and much more. So argued and illustrated the Rev. Donovan Myers in a recent sermon calling us to review our level of commitment and the response to our privileges as followers of Christ. For his brief notes for the sermon, please click here.
"Worship God with all my Mind" a sermon by Rev. Dr. Dave Hazle at the Annual Service of Appreciation for the Staff of the Cayman Prep and High School, 17th October 2010 - click here for full sermon.

"Growing in Faith - Touched, in order to Touch Others" 
"If I don’t stop to let the little district bus back out into the stream of traffic in Monday morning rush hour, what was I doing in church on Sunday? Clearly his passengers need to get to work on time too. And surely God wants them to. So if God wants it, what is my responsibility?" See full sermon here.

"Be Prepared ... for the Wait" - 18th July 2010 - You think the World Cup was great! Do you want to participate in the Big Event or just watch passively? See full sermon here. 

What are you doing here?
This "brutally direct question" is a call to reflection and action we each need to hear - and this Pastor's letter is a great sermon - click here to read full sermon

Extracts From A Sermon
- by Rt. Rev. Dr. Roderick Hewitt as the CWM Assembly 2006 opens in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on 18th June
CWM's Assembly in Ocho Rios opened on 18 June with a challenge to take the good news home...
"God's redemptive work is opposed to structures of injustice at every level in our world that maintains the privileges of the powerful," he said. - click here to read full sermon

You Matter
St. John 15: 9 - 17
“Love is dangerous” says a cover story article in the National Geographic - click here to read full sermon

The central message of the Bible is a message of newness.  It speaks emphatically and forcefully of the creation of a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1)  - click here to read full sermon

Being The Church In A Changing World
Isaiah 58: 1- 14
In a recent sermon at an ordination service of the United Church, The Rev. Norbert Stephens, Minister of Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston, Jamaica, examined a number of topics that are critical to all of us who comprise Christ's Church in today's world: "How should the church function in a rapidly changing world?” How do we retain or reclaim our identity? What is our core business as church in a time like this? Should we remain fixed and fixated by our traditions and practices and simply wait out the changes occurring in every area of life, or should we just go with the flow? Should we, like the shapers of our tradition did, raise the theological questions about life and customs, or should we just park the questions in the search for relevance and growth? - click here to read full sermon

Formed For God's Family
A sermon presented as part of the George Town charge’s 40 Days of Purpose Programme, and based on:
The Purpose Driven Life - Part 3
Rick Warren
Saddleback Church – Lake Forest, Calif.
- click here to read full sermon

Going? Or Going along?
Lift your sights higher
(Extract from a sermon on God's grace - New Testament readings and commentary omitted for this purpose.)
Text: Genesis 12:1-4; Psalms 121;
Genesis 12: 4 told us “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.”
So we see Abram going, as the Lord had told him… - click here to read full sermon 

United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands