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Elmslie Memorial Church celebrates 100 years

Local News 07 Jul, 2022 Follow News

Rev. Christopher Mason

Lots of people came to celebrate the church’s 100TH anniversary

Flowers filled the church like beautiful memories

Sheila McKenzie by the cornerstone laid by her grandfather in 1920

By Christopher Tobutt 

It was actually 102 years ago, on July 1 1920, that Rev. Robert C. Young laid the cornerstone to a big new church they had decided to build in memory of Rev. Elmslie who had come to Cayman in the mid 1800s after finding out that there was no organized church there. He rode all over Grand Cayman by horseback, preaching the gospel and planting little churches so the congregation who had been meeting on the same spot decided it was time to make a beautiful church for future generations

It’s a very special church and for a long time has been much more than just a Church. Before all the big concrete offices and shopping malls overshadowed, it, Elmslie Church was the very heart of George Town. Fragrant flowers filled the church like beautiful memories of all the wonderful people who have made it into a great big family, as the church service began. The bible reading from Mrs. Mary Bowerman was from Joshua Chapter four, and it was all about the Israelites making heap of 12 big stones, taken from the river that God had just dried up to help them pass over.

Minister Rev. Christopher Mason used the bible reading for his message. “The memorial stones were to be a reminder of their own personal experience …..verse six tells us the memorial will cause the children to ask, “what do these stones mean to you?” these stones are, first of all to be a reminder to those who are present. It was a reminder for them of their personal experience with God. What they saw, heard and felt. It’s a reminder for us to tell our story ……keep a clear memory of what God did for you,” he said.

Ms. Evelyn Rockett read out a history of the church. “The church was built by Captain Rayall Bodden and many others. We are still collecting the names of all the people who helped build it. All of the blocks that you see in the walls of this building were built by hand, there was no Flowers block back then. It took approximately two years to complete this building, and it went through the 1932 storm, it went through Ivan, and you know how close we are to the sea so it tells you how well built this church is. The pews that you are sitting on are made of mahogany and are 100 years old Do you see what great condition they are in?,” she said.

“You might ask, how did they get these funds to build this building? Well, they reached out to Caymanians who were abroad, and collected 800 pounds, and according to a calculator that I was given, that would equate to 38,088 pounds. That’s quite a lot of money and most people didn’t have much money at that time. This building was important to them. Today it is only fitting that on the anniversary of those stones being laid 102 years ago, that we pay tribute to those who toiled and served in this church. The next thing for us to do is to prepare ourselves to pass the torch on, so we have to make sure not only that the building remains strong, but that our faith and our missionary work continues.” 

There were many people who have either served in the church, or have close ties to it. Outside Sheila McKenzie was having her photo taken in front of the cornerstone laid by her grandfather, Reve Robert C young. “This has meant a lot to me because it brings wonderful memories of family,” she said.

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