HISTORY OF OPEN DOOR SDC CHURCH
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Psalm 67:3
The Seventh-Day Christian Conference wishes to express its gratefulness to God for this the Tenth Anniversary of the Open Door Seventh-Day Christian Church. You have weathered the storms of church life and have come out victorious. As one who was present from the beginning, I am assured that you have come this far by faith leaning on the Everlasting Arms.
I thought I would review with you some memorable events from 1996 to the present. In September 1996 President Charles Ffrench brought eight members of Victory Tabernacle to Oakville-Brampton, Canada, to meet believers, like Alicia and Yvonne Gordon, related to family members in the Seventh-Day Christian Conference and to enjoy some sightseeing in Toronto. We worshiped at the Church of God (Sabbath-Keeping) in Brampton under the leadership of Pastor Blyfield.
Research in the Conference Bulletins dating from 1996 through 2000 reveal that the group in Oakville was encouraged to meet periodically and to identify family members and friends to ascertain their interest in the group. Before its legal status was established, President Ffrench, Elder Neil Matthew, Pastor Lesford Foreman and other members of the Executive Board frequently visited.
In August 2001 President Ffrench brought a small group, including Deaconess Claudette Shaw Marshall, to meet with the believers who met at the Halifax Room at the Ramada Inn in Toronto. Some of the members present were: Pauline Faulknor, Gloria Brown, Miriam Brown, Angie Peart, Evangelist Percel Peart, Yvonne Gordon, Sharon Dixon, Lance Blake, Symonique Gordon-Singh, Michael Peart, Candace Green and Shamel Green. At that time Pastor Alphanso Holding of Jamaica was the group’s leader. After the worship service President Ffrench was the moderator of the business meeting. Among the issues discussed were the use of a site for regular worship and the registration of the church as a legal entity. President Ffrench interviewed both Evangelist Percel Peart and Dr. Maria Peart, discussing their future role with the church. The name for the church was also discussed, and eventually it was decided on Open Door Seventh-Day Christian Church. The vision of Pastor Holding for soul-winning, growth and evangelism and Dr. Peart’s training and vision for Bible-based instruction and people development were thoroughly explored.
In May 2002, Elder Neil Matthew and President Ffrench were present with a busload of SDC Conference members and their friends. Some highlights of the Sabbath Worship was the sermon by Pastor Lesford Foreman, entitled “Fit for Service,” and the presentation of hymnals to the Open Door Church in honor of Barbara Frances by President Ffrench. During the evening we attended the Stage West Dinner Theater to see the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” On Sunday a banquet and silent auction were held in the Trafalgar Conference Room of the Courtyard Hotel.
In May 2005 President Ffrench led a small delegation to Canada, including his wife and daughter, Deaconess Claudette Shaw Marshall, Emma Wellington, Vester Nurse, Trudy-Ann Clachar, Audrey Speid, her sister, friend and son. Pastor Richard Evans joined the group later. Highlights of the day were a welcome address by Dr. Peart, A Word of Wisdom by Pastor Evans and a sermon by Pastor Peart. On Sunday six representative of the Executive Board of the SDC Conference met with Pastor Peart, Dr. Peart and Deacon Donald Brown to discuss questions and concerns re Open Door. Later a banquet at the Days Inn Hotel and Conference Center ended the weekend interaction with the North American division of the SDC Conference.
In May 2002 Pastor Alphanso Holding returned to Jamaica after working sacrificially to establish the Open Door Church.
In May 2008 Pastor Richard Evans and Vice President Carmen Matthew represented the SDC Conference for the Open Door Church’s Anniversary Services and its Annual Church Banquet and Silent Auction. In addition to the wonderful services on Friday evening, Sabbath morning and evening, Pastor Evans and Vice-President Matthew had the opportunity to meet with the Open Door Leadership Team to discuss issues important to the Church and to the Conference. The Empire Banquet Hall was the site for the musical program, dinner, fashion show and silent auction.
My encouragement on behalf of the SDC Conference is found in 1 Corinthians 15:58:
Be ye steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain.