The Assemblies of God Church in Cherokee Sound confirmed Darrell Pinder as their newest Minister on Sunday, June 30 before a congregation of church officials, well-wishers, family and friends.
Brother Darrell’s family has a long history of church service in Cherokee. His great-grandfather, William Walter Sands, was a lay-preacher in The Cherokee Methodist church in the 1940’s and 50’s. Mr. Walter was also the local Justice-of-the-Peace, Postmaster and Headmaster of the one-room schoolhouse with over 100 students to attend to that was restored in 2004 and named in his honour as the W.W.Sands Community Center.
While his great-grandfather on the other side of the family, Talbert Sawyer, was said to have gone out nights with a lantern that he would hang on a fence post to preach on the streets of Cherokee. He did this after the Brethren Church that was located off the eastern track road was lost in the same hurricane of 1932 that took the Methodist church. His grandfather, Bateman Sands, who just celebrated his 80th birthday this year, is still preaching (and playing the harmonica) today, with a little help from his son and grandson and is able to spend some quality time in his very fruitful garden. He was the local Telegrapher for over 43 years until his retirement in 1993.
Darrell’s father, Roger Pinder is a well-known local mason and building contractor and heads up the Men’s Ministry Services at the Assemblies of God as well as helping with the preaching, singing and playing the guitar whenever he’s needed.
Darrell is the third generation in his family to preach in this church which was built in the late 1950’s. Pastor Earl Weech was one of the many who came to Cherokee to preach in the old church, which had been a private home that came from Kemp Road in Nassau. The roof, walls and floors were cut into pieces and brought to Cherokee and re-assembled.
Brother Talmedge Butler came to Cherokee at that time and built the existing church around that original building then disassembled the old one and moved it across the street where Una and Gene Sawyer still live today. After Brother Butler left, Brother Bob Cornea and his wife, Phyllis, served at the church in Cherokee from 1967 until 1973 and when they left Mr. Bateman took over ministering full-time.
The Inductee, Brother Darrell, has a younger brother, William, still living at home with his mother and father in Cherokee. He and his wife, Kellie (Sawyer) were both educated in Cherokee and have always lived there. They were childhood sweethearts and have been married for seven years and have two sons, Nicholas who is ready to start the first grade in September at Cherokee Primary School and a younger brother, Christain, who is just two years old.
Kellie is a stay-at-home mom who worked at Buds N’ Blooms in Marsh Harbour for six years and has since expanded her many artistic talents and plans to show her work in the January Art Show that is held every year on The Abaco Beach Hotel grounds. While her husband Darrell has worked for many years apprenticing under his uncle, Royce Sands. He eventually went away to obtain official licensing and certificates in the repairs of inboard and outboard engines and is now working with National Marine.
Both he and his wife grew up in the church, attending and holding Sunday School Classes and he eventually joined his father in working with the Men’s Ministry, which is an outreach program of the church where the men of the regularly visit the elderly, sick and bedridden to sing songs, discuss the Bible and deliver words of praise and encouragement. He has also been sharing the ministry with Brother Bob Cornea in Man-O-War Church and in doing so has earned countless new friends and followers.
Officiating over the installation was Pastor Dion Gibson of First Assemblies in Marsh Harbour. He spoke about the great need for service with commitment and integrity in his presentation and how many persons we encounter on a daily basis do not even understand the meaning of the word service, whether it’s in the church or a person’s everyday job .
Pastor Gibson explained that he had been fortunate enough to hear Brother Darrell speak and had spoken with others who had heard him and was encouraged to bring him into ministry since it was obvious that he was making an impression on so many in Abaco. He approached him about taking the vows and being certified so that he could continue to bring the word of God to those who were thirsting for it. He made a point to impress upon Brother Darrell how important his wife and children would be to him as he moves forward in the church.
After the ceremony the inductee Brother Darrell gave a few words of acknowledgement to the congregation and admitted that it had never crossed his mind to become a preacher, but that he and his family had prayed about it and they finally came to the decision that he would accept the challenge.
The program was packed with songs and words of encouragement from other officials in the church as well as congratulations from several other visiting Ministers. The church was filled to capacity with people attending from all over Abaco to be a witness to this momentous occasion in Brother Darrell’s life.