Further to the 40th anniversary celebration of Mt Zion read how the church was initiated.
HISTORY OF THE MOUNT ZION 7TH DAY CHURCH OF GOD
(UK INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE)
THE Mount Zion work started here in England as a result of the efforts of a few brethren who were members of the Mount Zion Sanctuary Assembly of Jamaica after they had immigrated to the UK, and settled in Derby, England. This work commenced on18th June 1966 under the leadership of Pastor N Edwards in the front room of Deacon V Scarlett’s home located at Harrington Street, Derby. They had a total of 7 adults – Pastor and Sister Edwards, Deacon and Deaconess Scarlett, Brother Cover, Brother and Sister Biggs, plus children. These brethren though few in number this arrangement continued for a period of 4 months.
As they progressed, the Lord helped them to rent a building at Unity Hall, which was located at the junction between Normanton Street and Burton Road, in Derby on l8th October 1966. They continued in praising God and being faithful to Him as they increased in number.
Brother Henry, who was a member of the Church of God 7th Day, met and married Sister Shirley Belnavis, who was a member of the Mount Zion Sanctuary Assembly fellowship in Jamaica. Through that association Brother Henry met with Elder Parr and his family, and the late Sister Irmalyn (Pam) Clarke, all of whom were members of the Mount Zion Sanctuary Assembly from Jamaica. Everyone lived in London except Sister Clarke who lived in Kent. Once a year they would visit the church in Derby for their annual Convention in order to share Christian fellowship.
In the latter part of September 1971, the late Bishop C D Reid from the Jamaica Conference visited England to attend the yearly Convention at the Derby church. Brother Henry was one of the speakers at that Convention. Before the end of the service, Bishop Reid approached young Brother Henry and asked him if he was an ordained Minister. Brother Henry’s reply was that he was not. Bishop Reid then told him that he would like to ordain him as a Minister of the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Coincidentally, prior to that visit and during the early part of September 1971 Eric Satford Henry had received a special message from the Heavenly Father telling him to go out and evangelise.
In October 1971 Brother Henry was officially ordained into Office as a Minister of the Gospel by the late Bishop Reid in the rented Unity Hall buildings in Derby. Following his ordination, Pastor Henry and family continued to attend the fellowship at the Church of God 7th Day at Elmers End, Woodside, in London SE25. However, Pastor Henry remembered the vision the Lord had given him and also the last charge which was given to him by Bishop Reid to “go and make disciples for Christ”. Now an ordained Minister of the Gospel, Pastor Henry took his family, and together with Elder Parr and family, Sister I Clarke, and Sister A Livermore, they rented a hall at Streatham Public Baths. These brethren became the foundation members and thus the church was now established in London under the leadership of Pastor Henry.
This new fellowship was poised for growth, blessings and expansion under the leading of the Holy Spirit. The worship services included prayers, praises, thanksgiving, dancing in the glory of the Lord, and preaching the Word of God. The worshippers experienced a Holy Spirit anointing. They also performed baptisms, ordinations and babies blessings.
The first person to be ordained under Pastor Henry’s ministry was Brother Henry Thompson. Brother Thompson was ordained as a Deacon and his first candidate for baptism was Sister Kathleen Sinclair. Shortly after this, the Ministry progressed and moved from strength to strength. A large number of souls were added, including family, friends and many young people.
The church continued to grow and expand and in so doing, it became apparent that the church needed a head office and a leader. Consequently, a joint agreement was reached between the Mount Zion Sanctuary Assembly in Jamaica and the Conference in New Jersey USA, to become the headquarters for the church in England. The Church was issued with a charter/constitution from the USA Headquarters in New Jersey. The President of the organisation was Theodore Jordan and the President for the Jamaica Conference was Bishop Kenneth Bennett.
Pastor Henry continued to minister under this constitution/charter in different towns and communities in London and the Midlands. He especially targeted young people, which resulted in many of them being added to the faith. Pastor Henry was loved by all he came in contact with and the church continued to progress. New branches were established in Islington and Northampton by Pastor Henry under the respective leadership of Deacon C Gilkes and the late Evangelist Walters.
In June 1979, Bishop Bennett of the Jamaica Conference visited England. During his stay he reorganised the entire Mount Zion organisation due to the tremendous progress and expansion of the Ministry. He decided to ordain Pastor Henry to an Overseer for all the churches, including the new branches in Islington and Northampton.
Mount Zion had a vibrant singing ministry, in addition to Pastor Henry’s work as a Preacher. He was a well sought-after chair person for gospel concerts throughout the UK. Pastor Henry was able to cross denomination barriers and work with other pastors and leaders from different churches and organisation. Pastor Henry was very instrumental in bringing youth groups together from different walks of life. There was no segregation of blacks and whites, or different cultures or persuasions. Every leader and group was well-known and widely respected in the UK for the work they did together.
Mount Zion forged closer relationships with other groups, such as The Harmonisers led by Pastor Latouche and his family; the Heavenly Hopes; the Doyley Brothers; The New Testament Assembly choir; Calvary Temple choir; Pastor Johnson’s choir from High Wycombe; and many others. Pastor Henry and all the people at Mount Zion loved them for their spirituality in their Gospel singing ministry and the impact they had on their audiences which resulted in them being blessed. Pastor Henry being the chair person for the concerts, and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, would ensure that the groups performed well. He would not close any concert until blessings were apparent.
The Holy Spirit was evident in the leadership of God’s ministry and this was proven by the growth of the Mount Zion Church. Many people came to the Lord, especially young people. Sadly, complaints were made to Lambeth Council due to the noise from the services. This resulted in Lambeth Council re-organising and reducing our worship times to a shorter time frame. As a result of this, when the services were in a high peak of Holy Ghost anointing and praises, we had to leave the room and finish our services on the street corner outside Streatham Baths.
Being faced with this situation, Pastor Henry, the members and our regular visitors decided that we should look for our own building. Therefore in 1980 arrangements were made to acquire our own place for worship. Several enquiries were made to the Local Authority and the Church Commission. After a period of time the London Borough of Croydon informed us of the existence of a building for sale. The property belonged to The Seventh Day Adventist and was located in Sydenham Road, Croydon.
Following various discussions the church decided to make immediate plans to acquire the building. All hands and hearts were joined together to assist in its purchase. In total we had 15 fellowshipped members plus visitors and friends. We did not have sufficient funds for the purchase of the building. However pledges and sacrifices were made by all to accumulate the additional funds required for a deposit.
By faith Pastor Henry and Sister Henry approached Barclays Bank and through the Estate Agent (“Brian”) they were introduced to the Barclays Bank Manager Mr Evans. From the discussion Brian had with Mr Evans, he realised that the church did not have sufficient funds or the means to purchase the building and also to repay a mortgage.
Nevertheless, Mr Evans agreed to have a meeting with Pastor Henry, and Sister Henry to discuss the matter. During that meeting Pastor Henry was able to convince Mr Evans that the church would be able to repay the loan. Pastor Henry told Mr Evans that he was prepared to put up his house as collateral for the loan and Mr Evans accepted the same. Mr Evans was so caught up with Pastor Henry’s enthusiasm during the meeting, that he felt he had become a part of the Mount Zion movement.
Further discussions took place between Mr Evans, Pastor Henry, and Sister Henry concerning the production of the required documentation for the loan. At the final meeting when the mortgage was due to be finalised Mr Evans asked Pastor Henry a straight question and it was – “now that you have convinced me that you can pay the mortgage how will you pay the bills i.e. electricity, gas, and water rates”? Without hesitation Pastor Henry told Mr Evans that he would levy a weekly sum of 50 pence on each member in order that the bills could be paid. This was said by Pastor Henry with faith in the members. Upon Pastor Henry’s return to the church he informed them of what had transpired and what he had told Mr Evans and an agreement was reached by all that the sum of 50 pence would be paid.
In February 1981 after much hard work, by faith the church was able to move into its new place of worship at 333A Sydenham Road, Croydon, Surrey. In March 1981 the church was registered as a place of worship for all people and for the solemnization of marriages. The building was dedicated on the 14th of June 1981.
Once again the Holy Spirit was evident in the leadership of God’s Ministry as the singing group expanded to an extent that it was divided into three sections and was known as (1) The Mount Zion Gospel Specials (2) The Wade Brothers who won many awards in the early eighties, (3) The Echoes of Zion – all female vocalists.
In 1985 we discussed the possibility for the church to obtain charitable status from the UK Government. Following discussions, enquiry letters were sent to the Charities Commission. Unfortunately, our application was refused on several occasions due to the fact that the churches in the UK were governed by both the USA and Jamaica. The UK Government advised us that if we wanted charitable status we would have to dissolve the direct rule we had from the USA/Jamaica Conferences and remove their charter/constitution. We were instructed that we would have to write our own constitution and form an independent Charitable Conference with our own President and Bishop.
Enquires were made with a firm of solicitors to ascertain whether it was possible to do so. Following consultation with the solicitors we were advised that the church did not need a Constitution/Charter from the New Jersey Conference, as it could operate as an independent Conference under the rules of the United Kingdom Government.
As the church was seeking to be an independent Conference the relationship between the Mount Zion Sanctuary Assembly and the Conference in New Jersey had to be terminated. On 15 March 1985 the Mount Zion Sanctuary Assembly became an independent Conference and became known as the Mount Zion Sanctuary 7th Day. We were empowered to produce our own Ministerial Certificates and Charters to other Conferences who wanted to become a part of the Conference.
It was agreed that for clarity, the church name would be changed to add the words “Church of God”. We then became known as Mount Zion Sanctuary 7th Day Church of God. However, it was discovered that there were other Churches using the word “Sanctuary” in their church names, so to avoid confusion, it was agreed by the Conference that a letter should be sent to the Charities Commission seeking their authority to remove the word “Sanctuary” and for the Organisation to be called “Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God”. Authority in this regard was given by the Charities Commission and the word “Sanctuary” was removed.
The Organisation expanded as there were other churches that wanted to become a part of the organisation and charters were issued to them. As a result of this and following consultation with the Charities Commission, the Conference became known as “Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (England General Conference).
On 30 April 1987, with an increase in membership of over 100%, the church was able to make the final instalment on the mortgage of the building and became mortgage free. A special service, called “burning of the mortgage” was held, in which the church rejoiced and gave thanks to God, acknowledging where He had brought the church from and where He was leading it. The church was now in its element of glory and honour to God the Almighty. “Praise ye the Lord”.
Sadly in the late 1990s, a number of members left and the membership dwindled. Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference) is very proud of the progress of those who left have made in their ministries and we give God thanks for that. Many have now become Pastors, Evangelists, and Missionaries and they are here today celebrating with us on this 40th Anniversary. Members who have stayed in the fellowship have been blessed by God and continue to give Him thanks and praise. The Heavenly Father has rewarded this faithfulness.
Through the working power of God, to date, Mount Zion is now a recognised International Conference, having an HQ in the UK with 4 branch churches located in the midlands and London. These are in Nottingham, White City, Stockwell, and Wolverhampton. We also have an associated ministry with Bishop Noel Dyer who is the Bishop for the Ministry of Restoration, in Walthamstow, London E17.
Mount Zion also has conferences and branch churches in 9 different countries as listed below.
Jamaica, Guyana, Kenya, Tanzania, St. Marteens, St Lucia, Philippines, Pakistan, and India.
Profile of Ministers for the Affiliated/Incorporated Conferences
President/Overseer James McRae – Guyana Conference
President/Overseer James McRae was born in Georgetown, Guyana. He is married with a family. He became involved with the church after a period when he supervised a church ministry. He became a part of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference) and was ordained as the President/Overseer of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (Guyana Conference).
His heartfelt vision is that the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (Guyana Conference) has a branch church in each region of Guyana and also in the Caribbean.
Deputy Overseer Arnold Europe – Guyana Conference
Deputy Overseer Arnold Europe was born in Georgetown Guyana. He is married with a family. He became a part of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference) and was ordained as the Deputy Overseer of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (Guyana Conference). He is a gifted man of God and shares the same vision as President/Overseer James McRae.
Pastor Devon Gardner– St. Maartens Conference
Pastor Devon Gardner was born in Jamaica. He was ordained in the Ministry of Christ Jesus as an Evangelist in 1994. He is married with a family. He went to live in St Maartens and there opened a fellowship. He was promoted to a Pastor in 2005 and is working together with another ordained Minister of the Gospel Pastor Dave Walters for the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (St. Maartens Community Fellowship). Pastor Devon Gardner and Pastor Dave Walters are the founders for the Conference in St. Maartens. The Conference is situated in the Dutch Quarter of St. Maartens.
Pastor Dave Walters – St. Maartens Conference
Pastor Dave Walters was ordained in the Ministry of Christ Jesus as an Evangelist in January 2005. Pastor Walters was recently married. He was promoted to a Pastor in 2008 and works with another ordained Minister of the Gospel Pastor Devon Gardner from the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (St. Maartens Community Fellowship). Pastor Dave Walters and Pastor Devon Gardner are the founders for the Conference in St. Maartens. The Conference is situated in the Dutch Quarter of St. Maartens.
President/Overseer Jacob Vadlapati – India Conference
President/Overseer Jacob Vadlapati, was born in September 1972 to the late Mr.Venkata Rao Vadlapati & Mrs. Bhagyavathi Vadlapati. He is married with a family. He left his secular job as an Operations Manager and entered Bible College. His theological training is a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.). After graduating from Bible College, he started to work full time in the Ministry of Christ Jesus. The Lord has used him in many ways to reconcile many to the Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus. As the President /Overseer for the India Conference his vision is to win souls for the kingdom of the Lord Christ Jesus. He believes that India is in need of more servants’ of Christ to proclaim the Good News in these perilous times.
President/Overseer Kenneth George Letford –Jamaica Conference
The Mount Zion Conference in Jamaica was officially set up in 1994 under the leadership of President/Overseer K G Letford, the late Pastor Allen (Senior Minister), Pastor P Bramwell (Conference Secretary) and the late Elder T. A. Green. Prior to 1994, whilst visiting the United Kingdom, Pastor Letford fellowshipped with the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (England General Conference) on several occasions, and from this relationship he made his proposal to affiliate his Jamaican ministries to the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God, (England General Conference). In1994, Bishop E S Henry ordained Pastor Kenneth George Letford as Overseer for the Jamaican Conference – thereby officially accepting Jamaica as part of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (England General Conference). President/Overseer Kenneth George Letford is married with a family.
From 1994 to 2011 the Jamaican Conference has grown from two to six churches. The Jamaican Conference also established the Mount Zion Basic School for children. This establishment is registered with the government of Jamaica. The aim is to contribute to the educational, social and emotional development of the early years of children, and prepare them to be the men and women of the next generation.
Pastor Cornil Rudy William – St Lucia Conference
Pastor Cornil Rudy William (also famously known as Rudy Conscious), was born on the 24th March, 1969 in Vieux Fort, St Lucia. He is married with a family. Pastor William was ordained on the 17th February, 2011 by President/Bishop E S Henry of the Mount Zion Church of God 7th Day (UK International Conference). Pastor Rudy, who is often regarded as outstanding and technically adept, is an influential composer and well known for his ministry in singing, (and most would agree dancing). His music is strong and vivid, and portrays sincerity in the worship to God.
Pastor Rudy has a Radio Ministry which is distributed worldwide. Listeners from as far afield as Canada, America, United Kingdom, as well as parts of the Caribbean and South America often contact Pastor Rudy for prayer, healing and to testify about how they are being blessed by this Ministry. His broadcast is on air between 5am and 8am St Lucian time. For more information visit www.livestream.com/lvefmslu.
Profile of Associated Minster
Richard Clive Allen – Associated Minister of the Gospel
At the age of 18, while walking the streets of Derby one night, the Lord spoke to Richard Clive Allen, convicting him that he needed to come to the Lord Christ Jesus our Saviour. In the days and weeks that followed, this conviction became more and more profound, leading him to surrender his life to the Lord. In June 1971 the following year, Richard Clive Allen was baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. In the months and years that followed, the Holy Spirit gave him a strong love for the Lord and a passion for His Word, and opened his understanding more and more to the Word of God and His will for Pastor Allen’s life.
After many years of growing up in the church, he was encouraged into the ministry by Bishop E S Henry. He was ordained as a Minister of the Mount Zion 7th Day, Church of God UK International Conference in the year of 1993 by Bishop E S Henry, and was blessed to have ministered in the role of Pastor for the Derby branch church for approximately 13 years. Pastor Allen is married with a family. His prayer and desire is for the people of God to be blessed with the spirit of unity and have a passion for the unadulterated Word of God.
Mount Zion also has Associated Ministries in the USA as listed below.
Profile of Associated Ministries
Pastor Anthony Wakefield – The Church of God 7th Day American Conference (Associated Ministry)
Pastor Anthony Wakefield was born in Jamaica. He immigrated to the USA and is married with a family. He is a Minister of The Church of God 7th Day American Conference working under the leadership of Bishop Lyncent McCallum. He is also an Associated Minister of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference). He has a great zeal for Evangelism and spreading the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Bishop Lyncent McCallum – The Church of God 7th Day American Conference (Associated Ministry)
Bishop Lyncent McCallum was born in Saint James, Jamaica. He immigrated to the United States after serving in the Jamaica Defence Forces and was introduced to the Mount Zion Church of God 7th Day, Brooklyn in 1972 by his sister Thency. He is married with a family. He dedicated himself to the word and was ordained Deacon by Pastor Aaron Reid in 1974. During the past 30 years the church in Mt. Vernon has flourished, many have been ordained and have gone on to establish other congregations. He was ordained into Office on 15 January 2011 as Bishop Elect by Bishop E S Henry of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference).
Bishop Elect Lyncent McCallum oversees the Headquarters Church in Mount Vernon, N.Y. and other churches in Florida in addition to an association with other fellowships in Florida and N.Y.
Bishop Elect Lyncent McCallum is associated with the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference).
Pastor RoMency Blackwood – The Shiloh Church of God 7th Day American Conference (Associated Ministry)
Pastor RoMency Blackwood was born in Jamaica. She was the daughter of the late Pastor Nelson. In 1958 she immigrated to the United Kingdom. Pastor Blackwood is one of the founding members of the Mount Zion Sanctuary Assembly when it was established in 1971 in Streatham Public Baths, London.
In 1974 Pastor Blackwood left the United Kingdom and immigrated to Baltimore in the USA. She continued in her faith in Christ Jesus and through this great faith she was instrumental in establishing the present church building in Baltimore from inception to completion. The church became known as the Shiloh Church of God 7th Day and Pastor Blackwood became the Pastor and Founder of the church. Pastor Blackwood was married (now a widow) with a family.
Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference) has been a beacon in the community of Croydon and other communities where its churches are located.
The Conference offers various services as follows:
Performing marriages, the dedication of children and funerals (off site). The church also reaches out to the youth and elderly.
The Conference was registered with companies House on 10 March 2006 as Mount Zion School of Theological Studies, Higher & Further Education. The Mount Zion School of Theology for Biblical Studies was the brainchild of Bishop Eric Satford Henry. In August 2001 he secured a Diploma in Theology following his 3½ years part time studies at the Church of God 7th Day Summit School in Nantwich. Bishop Henry’s vision for the school was to have a programme where knowledge of Biblical studies would be implemented. He now serves in the role of chair assisted by Dr P Samuels who is the Minister for Education.
We now provide a platform for theology and further education studies etc which takes place at our recently built “Eric Satford Henry Training Centre”.
The Conference also meets the spiritual needs of those who are seeking Christ Jesus as their Saviour as well as their human needs. Some support, including small financial assistance is given to those who are in need.
The International Conference has now reached a high point where it is looking to the future for the winning of more souls for the Kingdom of God and reaching out to all those who are broken hearted, crushed and torn in whatever form.
The blessings of the Lord have predominated throughout these years of hard work and the evidence is still standing all around us today. We give the Lord praise, adoration and gratitude for the wondrous gift He has given to His people.
As Asa cried II Chronicles 14 v11
“Oh Lord our God, it is nothing with thee to help whether many or with them that have no power. Help us oh Lord our God for we rest on thee and in thy name we go against the multitude. Oh Lord thou art our God, let no man prevail against thee”.
Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference) has come this far by faith – Zech Chapter 4: verse 6 states “not by might, not by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord.”
Commemoration to God’s Servants
In conclusion I Bishop Eric Satford Henry would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have made an impact in the life of this ministry, especially: our late Sis Irmalyn (Pam) Clarke who was one of the founding members/trustees and the original treasurer of the Mount Zion Church; Sister A Livermore (founding member); the late Collie Smith who was the Youth Leader and Minister; the late Senior Deacon Scarlett (founding trustee and Senior Deacon); the late Pastor R Brown (founding trustee and the first Senior Minister); the late Evangelist Slater and Sister Slater; the late Sister M Hay; the late Bishop Powell and Bishop Bernard of the New Testament Assembly in Tooting; and the late Pastor Latouche.
To other people who made considerate contribution to this Conference:-
- Pastor Parr and family (Foundation members)
- Sis S Henry (Founding member/trustee and was the original Secretary)
- Deaconess Scarlett (pioneer in the Derby branch church) the surviving wife of Deacon Scarlett (Senior) and children.
- The other people who laboured in this conference to make it what it is:
- All of my family which have and are still supporting the ministry
- All the Ministers, officers in the UK and abroad.
- The International Secretary/Head of Administration.
- The Administration staff in the UK and abroad.
- All our members, children, visitors and friends of Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference) both in the UK and abroad.
- Missionary Rose Watt and family in the USA
- All my secular friends worldwide and especially all those who are from Atkins Ltd in Epsom, the best design and engineering consultancy in the world.
1. All the International Overseers & Pastors
- President/Overseer Kenneth Letford – Jamaica Conference,
- President/Overseer James McRae/Deputy Overseer Arnold Europe – Guyana Conference
- Pastor D Walters/Pastor D Gardner – St Marteens Conference
- Pastor Cornil Rudy William – St Lucia Conference
- President/Overseer Malacquias Galing – Philippines Conference
- Pastor Gulab Maish – Pakistan Conference
- Pastor Anton Deus – East Africa Conference
- President/Overseer J Vadlapati – India Conference
- Deputy Overseer P Samson – India Conference
2. Associated Ministries
- Pastor Blackwood and family (USA) – Foundation member (and Associate)
- Pastor DeCuna and family (Guyana) – Foundation members
- Bishop Noel Dyer Ministry of Restoration, Walthamstow (Associate Ministry)
- Bishop McCallum The Church of God 7th Day, USA (Associate Ministry)
- Bishop Jarrett Church of God 7th Day, USA (Associate Ministry)
- Pastor Wakefield and family, USA (Associate Ministry)
- Rev Joe Biney (Joe) the architect of the Mount Zion 7th Day Church of God (UK International Conference media ministry (UK/Ghana)
3. Education Department
- Dr P Samuels & Staff (UK)
4. Singing Teams
- Mount Zion Inspirational Group (UK)
- Main Choir
- Children’s group
6. Media Team
7. Maintenance/Cleaning Team
8. Early years of the ministries families
- Goldie Davies
- Williana Elliott and family
- Valerie Joseph
- Marva Eyoma and family
- Donna Clue
- Pastor Bennett and family
- The Livermore family
- The Wade family
- The Graham family
- Deacon Gilkes and Wife (Lorintia) & family
- The surviving Latouche family
- Blossom and daughter
- Elder A Mackay (Jamaica)
- Deacon Clarke and family (UK & Jamaica)
- Judith Muirhead/daughter Danalier
- Missionary Muirhead
I am sure there are still many names I have overlooked; however I would like to say that without the contribution of all of the people mentioned above, and those names that I may have overlooked, my ministry and the Conference would not be where it is today.
“WE HAVE COME THIS FAR BY FAITH”
Dated this 23rd day of October 2011