A large group of followers gathered on Sunday November 19, 2017 in the Cherokee Sound’s Assembly of God Church to rededicate their sanctuary after major renovations. There were visitors from as far away as Nassau, Sandy Point, Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay.
The ceremony opened with Roger Pinder giving opening remarks welcoming the visitors and reminiscing about his first recollections of coming to the church when he was a very small boy. Then he introduced his father-in-law the Pastor of the church, 85 year old Bateman Sands who gave the opening prayer. Afterwards, the congregation stood to sing some very inspirational Praise and Worship songs. With the ceiling raised during the renovations it made the singing that much more moving, besides being loud and hardy.
Then Brother Bob Cornea gave some of the actual history of the church, listing the many pastors who served over the years. The original building was a church in Nassau and was taken down and brought over by Pastor Earl Weech in 1947.
He then introduced Mrs. Violet Weech, Earl Weech’s wife, who was sitting in the congregation and announced that she was 102 years old and was here in Cherokee when the original church was put up. She was accompanied by her daughter Dianne.
Within a few years the present church, built of cement block, was built right around the old wooden building and when it was finished the wooden church on the inside was taken apart, piece by piece and reconstructed across the street, where it has been occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Gene Sawyer ever since. At some point the church received a roof over the entrance, but otherwise has remained the same until the recent renovations where the ceiling was raised, dry wall installed, new wooden wainscoting replaced around the perimeter of the sanctuary and new doors and new carpeting installed. For the congregation, the actual transformation is all to the glory of God.
Brother Bob gave a listing of the many visiting Pastors who have come to Cherokee’s Assemblies of God to minister to the members, including himself and his wife Phyllis. He told about their move to Cherokee, over fifty years ago and the poor condition of the Abaco highway which was only a pot-holed quarry road, about the amount of furniture and possessions they brought with them, expecting a large boat to ferry them across the Sound from Big Mangrove to the settlement and how surprised they were when there was no big boat, only four or five very small skiffs.
He told about the fellowship and comradery that has existed between the Assemblies of God and the Cherokee Methodist Church from the very beginning, and stopped to introduce Rev. Marie Neilly who as in attendance. He said there were many other Pastors from fellow churches there as well and he told about the faithfulness of the many local Lay-Preachers.
Brother Bob thanked Violet Weech for her husband’s dedication and help in organizing the church in the beginning and he told her how thrilled everyone was that she was able to attend this Rededication Ceremony seventy years later.
A very special performance was given by “New Direction,” a group of five men who sang a couple wonderful renditions of some favourite hymns, all to the delight of the audience.
Pastor Gary Curry from Nassau gave an inspirational message about the need to have a place on earth where God could dwell. He told about the many impressive churches and cathedrals in various locations that he had been fortunate enough to visit and how Christians were responsible to provide these dwelling places for God and Cherokee’s church was a good example.
Then, Superintendent Rev. Dr. Patrick Paul led the congregation in the Prayer of Dedication which the congregation recited together and Brother Roger Pinder led everyone in the closing hymn and Rev. Marie Neilly was invited to give the closing prayer.
Afterwards a fellowship dinner was served at the Cherokee Community Center for all to enjoy.