The lost trea­sure of the United Church in Ja­maica

Jamaica Gleaner - - FOOTPRINTS - REV HENRY EARL THAMES

The life of the late Rev­erend Henry Earl Thames, an in­di­vid­ual re­cently de­scribed by the United Church in Ja­maica and The Cay­man Is­lands as a self-ef­fac­ing in­di­vid­ual and a trea­sure of the (United) Church, was cel­e­brated dur­ing a thanks­giv­ing ser­vice last month at the Web­ster Memo­rial United Church in Kingston. Thames was born on Oc­to­ber 27, 1936 in Kingston. He at­tended the Lon­don Uni­ver­sity as an ex­ter­nal stu­dent, fol­low­ing his grad­u­a­tion from the He­roes Cir­cle-based Wolmer’s Boys’ School.

He was later named Ja­maica’s Rhodes Scholar in 1959, be­fore at­tend­ing Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity.

Thames was or­dained as a min­is­ter in 1964 and was re­mem­bered by fam­ily and friends as a com­mit­ted ser­vant of Christ. He was a co-founder of the Na­tional Prayer Break­fast. His long­time friend, Frank Lopez, told the con­gre­ga­tion that even as he and Thames’ fam­ily mem­bers mourned, they ought to re­joice, as Thames was a gift from God.

“God has used you to in­flu­ence so many lives and the joy of my life. He was not only my pas­tor; he was my friend from be­gin­ning to end. I can­not tell you how much my knees buck­led when I got the call up in Toronto that Mass Earl had passed. The only joy now is that he is in a much bet­ter place. Even as we mourn, we have to re­joice that he was a gift from God,” Lopez said.

His baby sis­ter, Max­ine, said: “Earl has left a last­ing legacy be­cause of all the lives he has in­flu­enced, and so he will never re­ally die. He lived a full, happy and ded­i­cated life, of ser­vice, which in­cluded many fun times. He will live on in our hearts and me­mories. Even though his heart is dead, for You (Lord), it was a beau­ti­ful place, with­out suf­fer­ing, do­ing what he loved, be­ing with young peo­ple an shar­ing prayers, lessons and fun times. We take com­fort in know­ing, that he died in that way.”

Along­side be­ing pas­tor of the United Church, Thames served two times as a mod­er­a­tor in the church.

He was also a lec­turer at the In­ter­na­tional Uni­ver­sity of the Caribbean. Thames was said to have been in­flu­en­tial in unit­ing the Con­gre­ga­tional and Pres­by­te­rian Churches in 1965.

Pas­tor Lloyd A. Cooke said Thames, who was a learned and ur­bane Chris­tian, was an icon that the United Church in Ja­maica and The Cay­man Is­lands had lost.

“Rev Earl Thames was a learned ... ur­bane Chris­tian gen­tle­man who never flaunted his in­tel­lec­tual prow­ess nor his deep spir­i­tu­al­ity. Earl Thames was sim­ple in his life­style and there­fore very ap­proach­able by all per­sons. He will be, and is al­ready be­ing, deeply missed.”

Mu­si­cal trib­utes were done by the An­drew’s Memo­rial and the Ridge­mount United Church choirs. The ser­mon was de­liv­ered by the Rt Rev Christo­pher Ma­son.

Thames died on Au­gust 11.

RUDOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

The Rev­erend Nigel Pusey (fore­ground) es­corts fam­ily mem­bers of the late Rev Henry Earl Thames at a ser­vice of thanks­giv­ing held Septem­ber 6 at the Web­ster Memo­rial United Church in St An­drew.

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