Remembering Martin Henry, a great Adventist leader

Written by: Dyhann Buddoo-Fletcher (Mrs.) - Administrative Assistant to the President | Sunday, June 30, 2019

 It does not take a great mind to be a Christian, but it takes all the mind a man has” wrote Richard C Raines. Those who knew Martin Henry can honestly say that he was a Christian man with a great mind. However, with a bit of imagination, you would hear him respond to this in his mellow baritone voice, “All wisdom comes from God.” This was the magnitude of the man that death took on May 28, 2019.

Martin, might have seemed ordinary; but, his relationship with his Creator brought him extraordinary greatness. For the lessons learnt in his formative years at home and at the Seventh-day Adventist church in Somerset, St Thomas never left him. So began his remarkable journey for 61 years, hand in hand with God and in service to the Seventh-day Adventist church.

Martin was very proud of his church and this he professed many times. Four years ago while speaking at a Men's Convention at the Half-way Tree Adventist Church he said this, “To be a Seventh-day Adventist means something different and special. We are committing ourselves to the scriptures as articulated in the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist church. We are committing ourselves to the principles, articulated in our baptismal vows…We are a peculiar people and one of our sacred responsibility is to understand what this difference means.”

So, he preached, taught, mentored, chaired meetings, helped build churches and did his farming; he shared in the joys and sorrows of ministry. While he did so, excellence was his mantra and he lived by the simple principles – always on time, on target and well prepared. “Martin's influence was wide and despite his great knowledge and expertise in his field, he was humble and respectful to everyone,” reflected Pastor Eric Nathan, the president of East Jamaica Conference.

“Even if he differs from you, he speaks to you in such a calm and humble way that respect is not lost.”

It was only natural that Martin was ordained as an elder in the mid-80s at the Meadowvale Adventist Church. In the early 90s, a move with his family, took him to worship at the Everton Park Adventist Church in Above Rocks, St Andrew. Then in quick succession, another move to Guava Gap Adventist Church. They needed a first elder and he answered the call. There he gave more than 25 extraordinary years in service. To that community, he was their friend, an evangelist, even some called him Pastor.

“Martin was an example of a man of human dignity; whose moral compass was the Holy Bible which dictated and guided his lifestyle, as well as the principles which characterised his very being. We remember him well for his meekness, humility, calm and quiet demeanor. His life bore the testimony of a genuine, courteous, loving caring, graceful brother,” said his friend, Dr Vermilline Gardner, from the Meadowvale Adventist Church.

Mr Henry's penchant for good governance increased his sphere of influence beyond the walls of the church and his local community. Though popular, his work never distracted him from faithfully serving on the following committees and boards of EJC:

• The Kingsway High School Board of Management, September 1995 to August 1997.

• The Good Samaritan In Management Committee, 2010 to 2014

• Communication Committee, 2010 to 2014.

• East Jamaica Conference Executive Committee, 2002 to 2006 and 2014 to May 21, 2019.

• Chairman, Conference-wide Development Management Review Council, April 2019 to May 2019.

Pastor Meric Walker, executive secretary of the Jamaica Union Conference of and chairman of the NCU Media Board to which Martin was also member, confessed that he was no ordinary person.

“He has made his contribution in crafting and articulating changes that were necessary. He was a spiritual giant, a scholar, a sample of humility as we would have seen in Christ. We are really saddened, and we articulate from our hearts the condolences of the Jamaica Union. We pray for his family, we pray for his church, his institution which he worked and the loss to the media fraternity. May we be strengthened and find hope in Jesus Christ,” said Walker.

The Adventist church family truly loved Martin and his family. The members continue to pray for his wife Jacqueline, son Theodore, daughters Lawrie, Joanique and foster daughter, Tamara Chin.

His thanksgiving service on June 30, 2019 will commence at 9:00 am at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church on Osbourne Road in Kingston. Interment will be at Ramble in St Thomas.

Some day in the twinkle of an eye, when the trumpet sounds and the dead in Christ shall rise and then all those who are faithful will meet again. Rest Martin, until we meet again.

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