Pastor Dr Melch Pope credited with rescuing an unstable church
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May 30, 2014

Pastor Dr Melch Pope credited with rescuing an unstable church

Reverend Dr Melch Pope departs the shores of this country having established a legacy that few have been able to in a lifetime.

Pope, the pastor of Faith Temple church at New Montrose, came to St Vincent in August 1995 for one month, at the behest of Pastor Noel Clarke, who was then district superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (PAWI){{more}} SVG district.

That one month turned into 18 years, and at a farewell service held at the church last Sunday, speaker after speaker described how Pope and his family were able to perform a “rescue mission” on the Faith Temple church.

Reverend Sonny Williams, Presiding Bishop of (PAWI), SVG district, addressing the packed church, said 18 years ago, if Faith Temple had not been “handled wisely,” the district could have “lost an important flagship in its fleet.”

He said Pope, a Trinidadian, having been given an unstable congregation, has added value to Faith Temple and lifted the bar for the rest of the district.

“You have regained the title for Faith Temple as mother of this district…. And you are handing it back to the district, a stable congregation that has experienced significant growth and you also have motivated other congregations to lift their bars.

“You are leaving Faith Temple with a building that we are proud of. The parsonage, the annex, the car park that is to be signed off in a while, and the prospect of the land next door. Membership has grown. You have left behind, Diadem Dancers, so you have contributed to the cultural landscape of SVG,” Williams said to loud applause.

Pope was also commended for his service to the country and his contribution to the cultural landscape. He served on the adoption board, and according to Michael Peters, Coordinator of the SVG Gospel Fest Committee and Chairman of the SVG Nine Mornings Committee, Pope made an invaluable contribution to Gospel Fest and the Nine Mornings celebrations.

According to Peters, in 1999, when efforts were being made to revive Nine Mornings, an invitation was extended to Pope for Faith Temple to participate. Pope immediately accepted, welcoming the opportunity to participate in the event, describing it as “fertile ground.”

Peters said Pope stood with the committee for the last 15 years and was assigned the two most challenging mornings because of his powerful preaching. Lennox Bowman, representing the Nine Mornings Committee and Fidel Taylor on behalf of the Gospel Fest Committee made presentations of trophies to Pope as tokens of appreciation.

The evening’s farewell service also paid tribute to the contribution made by Shirlene Pope, wife of Pastor Pope, and the couple’s children Jamila, Melch Jr. and Ansis.

Shirlene was described as a creative woman with strong leadership skills. She was thanked for the supportive roles she played in all departments of the church.

For the past 15 years, Lady Pope was president of Women Aglow SVG Chapter, which she is credited with reviving. She also founded and managed Diadem Dancers, and when she addressed the church, she tearfully asked the new leader of the group to love the members of the group.

Beautiful musical tributes were paid by the church’s musicians, the Christian Education Department, the Youth Ministries Department, the Women’s Ministries Department, the Men’s Ministries Department and the Faith Temple Choir.

Tears flowed freely as speaker after speaker from these groups thanked the Popes for their leadership and support and for doing whatever was necessary, no matter how menial.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, in brief remarks, said during the Popes’ tenure, significant changes for the better took place at the church. He thanked them for contributing to the spiritual society of the country. He asked them to continue to pray for our people, especially the young people.

Pastor Pope, in his response, described his sojourn in St Vincent and the Grenadines as “a rewarding experience.” He disclosed that he and his family will be continuing their ministry at the Curepe Pentecostal Church in Curepe, Trinidad.

“When God says to move, you move,” Pope said, visibly choking up.

He thanked the members and leaders of PAWI, past and present, for allowing them “to do the will of God for this time in this part of His vineyard.”

He also expressed appreciation to the government and people for SVG for affording him the opportunity to serve wherever possible to make this nation a better one.

Pastor Pope asked the members of the church to continue to cultivate an awareness for worship and worshipping. He encouraged them to have an appetite for the Word of God and asked them to give of their talents and their first fruits. He said he desired that they be travellers and powerhouses in the community and nation.

The farewell service was attended by a wide cross section of persons including acting high court judge Esco Henry. There was also an excellent turn out of members of the clergy, including pastors from PAWI churches, evangelical, Baptist and other denominations.