The Regional Board and members of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean (EAC) joins the Evangelical Community of Trinidad and Tobago to extend their prayerful support to the family, loved ones and the Family Focus Family Broadcasting Network, on the passing of gospel radio pioneer, Rev. Dr. Margaret Elcock.

Rev. Dr. Margaret Elcock

Rev. Emerson Boyce, Secretary General of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean (EAC) commented: “Margaret was a confident, humble, and an intriguing woman who changed the landscape of broadcasting in Trinidad and Tobago. She was President/CEO of Family Focus Broadcasting Network and I.S.A.A.C 98.1FM, which was the first Christian Radio Station in Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Elcock lived for God whom she loved dearly. She used media and her God–given skills to promote, rebuild and shape family life in the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. She leaves behind a legacy of influence in the lives of countless people within and outside the Caribbean.”

We praise God for the Christ-controlled life and legacy of Margaret Elcock. We are praying for her husband, children, family and friends during this difficult time.

Rev. Dr. Joel Edwards

The Rev. Dr. Joel Edwards passed away on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. He was a son of the Caribbean. Jamaican by birth, he migrated to the United Kingdom as a young boy. He was able to transcend barriers of migration, class, ethnicity and racism to excel within ecclesiastical circles and public offices.

Many in the Caribbean were not fully exposed to the breadth of his illustrious ministry, although he was well known to the members of the New Testament Church of God, Jamaica and leaders of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean (EAC). In 2009, Caribbean leaders were privilege to hear him when he was the guest of the Congress on Evangelization of the Caribbean (CONECAR) in Jamaica. He was a colleague to the late Bertril Baird, Turnel Nelson, and Dr. Myles Monroe and he participated at the International Third World Leaders Association in the Bahamas.

When you view the tributes pouring in from the heads of the New Testament Church of God, the Evangelical Alliance UK, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and civic, government and political leaders from all over the world one have to ask, ‘what manner of man is this’?

Rev. Emerson Boyce, the Secretary General, Evangelical Association of the Caribbean recalls “Joel as a genuine Christian, affable, a biblical exegetical speaker and one passionate about Christian Missions”.

Bishop Gerry Seale, of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies and former head of the EAC called him “a consummate gentleman and an elder statesman to many young ministers. His presence always made a difference”.

Dr. David Muir, Head of Whitelands College, Roehampton University, London, England, points to Joel’s unique contribution to Christendom when he quotes Joel’s words “Evangelicals are to be good news people who would reimagine themselves as good news citizens integral to our communities and the public square”.

That was Joel’s life and ministry, which he shared as he served in the following capacities over a period of 42 years:

  • Senior pastor of Mile End New Testament Church of God,
  • Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, London
  • Director, the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (UK)
  • Director, UK Development of the Evangelical Alliance
  • General Director, Evangelical Alliance UK
  • Director of Micah Challenge International, a coalition of Christian development agencies
  • Visiting Fellow of St John’s College, Durham
  • Awarded a CBE by the Queen for services to tackling poverty and injustice
  • Appointed by the Church of England to establish a racial justice commission
  • Appointed a commissioner for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission of the British Government.
  • Appointed to the Advisory Board on Human Rights and Religious Freedom with the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Appointed to the London Metropolitan Police’s Independent Advisory Group (IAG).
  • Consultant/Advisor Christian Solidarity Worldwide CSW’s Strategic Leadership Team, Board and staff on the relationship between the persecuted Church, freedom of religion or belief and wider human rights.

Apart from these formal roles, Joel was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and a popular broadcaster, speaker, writer and commentator on race, the Church and current affairs.

He was indefatigable in his Christian service and publicly a Caribbean Christian Statesman extraordinaire.

For me, Dr. Joel Edwards was my friend and confidante for near on 40 years. I will miss our personal musings about Caribbean missionaries serving in Africa, black theology and the challenge of home and ministry balance. He will be surely missed as a diplomatic and prophetic voice. His last question to me in February this year was, “how do we bring the vision of W.E.B. DuBois and the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey together?” Although he was an international personality, the Caribbean was always close to his heart. Our prayers are with his wife, Carol, his children Joel Jr. and Davina and his grandchildren.

Written by Rev. Ronald A. Nathan
Director of the Commission on Relief and Development
Evangelical Association of the Caribbean

Senior Minister of the Hoggard A.M./E. Zion Church, Jackson, Barbados

Earlier this week, Dr. Reynold Murray, President of the Association of Evangelical Churches in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (AECSVG), reported on the impact of the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano on April 9, 2021.

Dr. Murray and the AECSVG are partnering with local congregations and EAC members to assist the 1600 displaced and vulnerable families. He has asked you to join with the AECSVG in prayer that in the midst of the disaster believers would display the love of Jesus to bring peace and transformation.

The most urgent need the people of St. Vincent need is access to clean water, and relief from the ash, which poses a health and safety challenge. The amount of ash, which spewed from the La Soufrière, resulted in collapsing roofs and affecting Barbados and other neighbouring islands.

Please support Dr. Murray and the EACSVG with your prayers.

Should you feel led to support the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean efforts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you can donate here.

Relief for St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Join with us in Prayer,

Evangelical Association of the Caribbean

  1. The pattern of seismic activity changed again, with the end of
    the episodes of high-amplitude tremor 2-8 hours apart.
  2. Three episodes of tremor have been recorded since 6am, two of
    them lower-amplitude and the third, at about 5pm, was high-
  3. The episodes continue to coincide with periods of enhanced
    venting or explosive activity
  4. A reconnaissance of the entire north coast of St. Vincent from
    Chateaubelair to Georgetown with assistance from the Coast
  5. Observations made indicate that pyroclastic density currents
    (PDCs) had descended several valleys on the southern and
    western flanks of the volcano and had reached the sea at Morne
    Ronde, Larikai and Trois Loupes Bay.
  6. Extensive damage to vegetation was noted in an area extending
    from Larikai Bay to Turner Bay on the west coast.
  7. No other areas along the coast had been affected by PDCs but
    villages located on the eastern flank of the volcano had been
    affected by heavy ashfall.
  8. Explosions and accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger
    magnitude, are likely to continue to occur over the next few days
    with the chance of PDCs occurring.
  9. Visit the International Volcanic Hazard Health Network for
    volcanic ash information resources:

Story by C. Stetson Roland

Residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the nearby islands woke up to the news this morning that the erupting La Soufriere volcano had experienced its most dramatic eruption yet in the wee hours of Monday 12 April, sending pyroclastic flows tumbling down the eastern and western sides of the mountain for the first time. It was not the kind of report that the weary citizens of these southern Caribbean islands had hoped to hear.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Barbados

Already struggling to cope with the devastating impact of thousands of tons of ash that had buried roads, smashed through roofs, ruined water sources and covered almost the entire country in a greyish-tan blanket of destruction up to a foot deep in some places, this new phase of the eruption had the potential to obliterate the villages which lay along the foothills of the mountain. This volcano’s fury was going to bring them to their knees.

In the neighbouring island nations of Barbados and St. Lucia, residents were trying to make sense of the ashfall they were witnessing from a volcano that was hundreds of miles away. The grey stuff that had drifted into their airways covered everything that was exposed, rooftops, roadways, sidewalks, cars, trees, fences. The air and sky over parts of Barbados were so densely permeated with the ash that motorists were forced to use headlights from as early as 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday! The day’s rainfall had caused the dusty ash to transform into a heavy, dark grey goo which clogged drains, ruined surface water catchments and activated respiratory diseases all across the island of 300,000. The already bad situation was becoming worse.

Back on St. Vincent where up to a fifth of the population were now crowded into hastily arranged shelters or at the homes of friends and relatives in the south of the island, it was clear that this disaster had not reached its climax. And even as a tearful Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves expressed his government’s appreciation to the other Regional Governments which had pledged support in the forms of housing, food supplies and money, displaced residents began feeling the pinch of limited water, sanitary and sleeping supplies. There was also the underlying fear of a health disaster as Shelter Managers worried about the impact of a possible Covid-19 outbreak within their shelters.  Collectively, this nation of 110,000 residents was holding its breath. 

Ash covered village in SVG

EAC Connect spoke about the situation at the Shelters with Dr. Roanne Harry, a member of the Christian Response Mission Team which had come together to coordinate the work of the Church and other interested NGO’s, “We have been doing a lot of work with the Families in the Shelters where the needs are greatest and the biggest need is water, for drinking, cooking and other basic sanitation purposes. While people had pre-packed some amount of clothing because of the period of notice provided by the volcano since December last year, they did not pack enough things like towels, wash cloths and sheets, so these items are in great demand. Canned food and food products are in critically short supply. The truth is that people have bought out everything on the shelves in the supermarkets. The only thing on most shelves is a film of ash”.

View of the ash-covered beach in SVG

Added Dr. Harry, “Families with young children are especially impacted by the situation in the shelters. As a mother myself, I am worried that their young minds will struggle to process the chaos around them, the need to remain indoors in new and strange places and the fear of this sea of people who now suddenly occupy their living space. As you can imagine, that is a whole new and important aspect of this one disaster that has spawned so many other potential disasters in its wake”.

One of the issues being addressed by the authorities on the ground is the effort to reach residents of the Red Zone who should have evacuated but who had decided to remain to protect their livestock from poaching which had occurred after the 1979 eruption of La Soufriere. With roads now barely passable due to the sludge from the ash covering and with raging water flows at areas in Overland and Dry River, evacuation efforts have now escalated to rescue efforts involving the Special Services Unit of the military.

Dr. Roanne Harry stressed the gratitude of the members of the Christian Response Mission Team on the ground in St. Vincent to those persons and organizations in Trinidad and Barbados which have sent Supplies and which are mobilizing to send more in the coming days. She said, “We have had Supplies shipped to us via the Barbados and Trinidad Coast Guard Services and there is currently a Ferry collecting Supplies in Barbados to bring here. Our hearts go out to our Partners and Friends who continue to support our efforts to bring relief to those who have been dislocated by this disaster. Thank you!”

To give to the Christian Response Team, you may contact Dr. Roanne Harry at 1(784)494-9695.

A view of SVG’s ash-covered city

Story by C. Stetson Roland

Photos Contributed by Shakika Fraser

Activity at the La Soufriere Hills Volcano on St. Vincent reached a crucial stage yesterday when the volcano, which had been coming to life over the last few months, had several violent eruptions, spewing ash and magma high into the sky. 

Dormant for almost forty years since its last eruption on Good Friday 1979, La Soufriere had begun showing signs of rebirth in late 2020. Scientists from the University of the West Indies, flown in by the Government to monitor its progress, had recently reported a dramatic rise in its activity level and became alarmed at sharp increases in volcanic tectonic activity over the last few days. It was the Volcanologists’ report of serious escalation in tectonic tremors and smoke emissions from the expanding new dome that culminated in Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ call to evacuate at 5:00pm on Thursday.

With nightfall approaching, the people living in the Red Zoned area in the northern quadrant of the island had very little time to act on the Evacuation Notice.  Yet, in fear and anxiety over the unknown, some twenty thousand rural Vincentians began moving out in earnest chaos.  Men, women and children, all carrying backpacks and bags holding their most precious belongings poured unto the dusty streets. Some headed to the Port at Chateaubelair where a Ferry and other vessels were waiting; others seeking to leave by the land route crowded into assigned buses, private vans and cars and began the trip southward. 

Speaking to EAC Connect, Rev. Shakika Fraser, Pastor of the Georgetown Wesleyan Holiness Church and District Superintendent of the denomination in St. Vincent and the Grenadines related some of what he encountered while trying to get his people evacuated from the area. 

He said, “Most of my Church Members had already left by the time we made it up to Georgetown but there were still people trying to get out so we decided to help. We had to persuade a few persons to leave and some flatly refused to evacuate. Most of these persons told us they were staying to protect their livestock from poaching, as apparently there had been much loss of livestock to thieves after the 1979 eruption.”

 “During one of the trips we made in the night, I was forced to make contact with a Colleague in the south who agreed to provide shelter in his Church building to a vanload of people who refused to go to the Government-run shelters where it was said everyone had to either prove they were vaccinated or had to take the vaccine!”

He continues, “It was heart-rending to have to pass persons by the roadside, bags in hand, at one o’clock in the morning. Many were Seniors who had probably gotten the evacuation call late or who had taken somewhat longer than their younger countrymen to mobilise themselves to leave their homes”.

Up and down in the north of the country, thousands of residents from the normally calm and easy-going villages and towns of Fits, Hughes, Chateaubelair, Fancy, Owia, Sandy Bay, Magum, Overland, Orange Hill, Georgetown, Byrea, Chester Cottage, Colonaire, Petit Bordel, Rose Bank, Rose Hall and several others have been forced to hastily flee the wrath of La Soufriere’s fury. 

Speaking from his own experience in the process, Rev. Shakika shared the most critical needs of those who he has helped to evacuate from their homes: “Covered buckets, Folding cots, Sleeping Mats, Water, Masks and Hygiene kits”. 

If you are interested in donating or otherwise contributing towards the Relief and Development Fund for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you may contact Rev. Fraser at 1 (784) 526-1752.

Story and Photos by Shahein Fitzpatrick

Darren Barrymore Sebastian, Coordinator of Street Pastors (Antigua)

Street Pastors Ministries, which was started approximately 13 years ago in Antigua, is striving to reach some of the nation’s homeless. 

A not-for-profit Christian Organization, Street Pastors was activated in Antigua and several other Caribbean territories by Antigua-born Rev. Les Isaac, after it was founded in the UK.  Operating under the auspices of the Ascension Trust Foundation in the UK, one of the Ministry’s objectives is to care for the vulnerable and less fortunate in society in practical ways.

Mr. Darren Sebastian, Coordinator of Street Pastors Antigua, shared with EAC Connect (Official newsletter of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean) details about the Ministry’s drive to fulfill this part of its mandate. 

Sebastian revealed, “We assist the less fortunate who aren’t able to provide basic necessities for themselves such as food, water, clothing and shelter. And for those who may need medical treatment or intervention such as counseling, we would help directly or find other agencies which could provide assistance on their behalf.”

Sebastian explained that he and his Organization value highly the importance of collaboration. They believe that partnerships with other like-minded individuals and groups would help bring about greater transformation. 

“The Soup Kitchen is part of another Non-profit Organization, which was founded by a member of the Royal Antigua & Barbuda Police Force (Valdon Ragguette) whose vision is similar to ours in the area of meeting the basic needs of the vulnerable in our country. Inspector Ragguette had asked interested entities to take responsibility for at least one day in the week, providing a hot meal for the homeless and others who found themselves on the street. We have committed to doing our part every Wednesday and we have been consistent since we began two years ago”, Sebastian joyfully expressed. He added, “Street Pastors Antigua is able to provide these weekly meals with the help of financial donors and volunteers from within and outside the Organization who are always willing to help in the preparation and distribution of the meals”. 

The socially conscious body is in the process of building a database to allow them to keep track of those whom they serve. With no children on the database, they have so far registered some 60 individuals, 55 men and 5 women. 

“We do our best to keep in contact with these individuals beyond our weekly efforts at the soup kitchen and we are always trying to build on our relationship with them. Recently one individual needed medical attention and we were able to assist them by getting them to where they could receive medical care; another individual needed fresh clothing and we were able to provide him with that. We are trying to be active in their lives.”

Sebastian added that the organization’s long term vision is to one day establish a Recovery Centre for Antigua’s homeless where they could provide daily meals, medical attention, a place to shower and a bed to sleep comfortably; all this in addition to programs catered towards vocational development and most importantly holistic healing and recovery for their Users. 

For more information or to get involved in the efforts of Street Pastors (Antigua), feel free to contact Mr. Sebastian via WhatsApp Messenger or Cell at 1-268-464-5721.

He concluded, “It brings us real joy to be part of this lifelong journey of giving to those in need. Many of these people are homeless because of substance abuse, neglect from family and other circumstances beyond their control. They are humans just like you and just like me; to support their recovery as a community is our duty.” 

1. The steaming/smoking at the La Soufriere Volcano has increased over the last few hours.

2. The alert level remains at Orange. The National Emergency Management Organisation is reminding the public that no evacuation order or notice has been issued.

3. Residents especially persons living in communities close to the volcano are encouraged to be prepared in the event that it becomes necessary to evacuate at short notice.

4. The National Emergency Management Organisation will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as it becomes necessary.

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