7d Tour 2 – The Churches of the Ethiopian Baptists

Tour 2 - The Churches of the Ethiopian Baptists takes you around the island, learning of Jamaica’s passion for religion and Christianity as seen through the chapels established by the Ethiopian Baptist Society. Many churches had to be established in locations which avoided public glare because of the persecution they experienced, and so as well as experiencing city life, you will also experience the beauty of the Jamaican countryside. 

Day 1 – Kingston (o/n Kingston)

The evening will comprise of a brief introductory lecture to prepare all participants for the tour ahead. Refreshments will be served.

Day 2 – Kingston (o/n Kingston)

We begin our tour by visiting the ‘birthplace’ of the Ethiopian Baptist church in Jamaica, and the location of the home of many of the early leaders in Kingston.  There will be visits to churches and schools established by Lisle (Windward Road) and Swigle (East Queen Street and Calabar School), Gordon (Kingston Tabernacle).  We will also visit to Mambay Park Baptist Church, named after an enslaved African who was known to have had a healing ministry, Kingston Tabernacle, established by George William Gordon, and Hanover Street, Joshua Tinson who was caretaker of Windward Road Chapel whilst Lisle was in England for 4 years.  There will be visits to National Heroes Park, previously Kingston Racecourse where Lisle frequently preached, as well as journeying past the asylum where African Christians were frequently incarcerated, and the Fort where Lisle was employed in his first two years in Jamaica.  The tour will conclude with a visit to Clifton Mount Plantation whose owner had invited the Ethiopian Baptists to establish a Chapel on which to teach its ‘slaves.’ It is situated in the Blue Mountains and remains famous for its coffee, which you will be invited to taste.

Day 3 – Kingston – St Catherine – St Ann – St Mary (o/n Ocho Rios)

A busy day which will see us travelling from the South Coast to the North Coast of the island, following in the footsteps of George Gibb, an African American leader who travelled to Jamaica with Lisle.  Our tour take us to Jericho, Phillippo and Kitson Town Baptist Churches.  We will also visit the ruins of the Governor’s Residence where the Emancipation Proclamation was read out in 1838, and the gaol and dungeon which incarcerated Liele and other African Christians. We will pass through the Goshen Estate plantation on our journey north to the site of Rodney Hall Court and Workhouse, nicknamed ‘The Hellhole of Jamaica.’ Then on to Pembroke Hall Plantation where a free Gibb established a chapel and lived with his enslaved wife.  On reaching the north coast we will have lunch and experience Dolphin Cove before concluding the day at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Port Maria where Gibb concluded his ministry.

Day 4 - St Ann – St James – Trelawny (o/n Falmouth)

Day four takes us to the home of the Ethiopian Baptist movement in the north.  We are going to explore the churches established by the most prolific of all their ministers, Moses Baker.  After a visit to the plantation on which he grew up and worked – Croydon, we will journey to the site of the first chapel, Crooked Spring, visit Salter’s Hill gathering place of thousands of the enslaved for worship just days before the Baptist War began and travel through Adelphi before arriving in Montego Bay, the home of Montego Bay Baptist Church. 

Day 5 - Falmouth –  St Ann  - Ocho Rios – Falmouth (o/n  Falmouth)

Today involves a visit to the churches and communities in the country areas established by African Americans John Gilbert, Moses Baker and George Gibb and which continue to have congregations descended from those first Ethiopian Baptists.  With an early start we  will drive through Clarke’s Town and Jackson Town, places of resistance during the Baptist War, before visiting Stewart Town, Brown’s Town, and Gibraltar Baptist churches where as recently as 1888 an Ethiopian Baptist  left for the mission field via the American Baptist Missionary Society. These visits will conclude with a cultural presentation by the young people of the Baptist churches in this region.  Refreshments will be shared before moving on to St Ann’s Bay Baptist Church, folklore speaking of it having been established by an African – Mother Russell – and at the same time it is the only known location of a Liberty Grave, before moving on to either Dolphin Cove, Dunn’s River Falls or Coyaba Falls (for the more mature traveller).

Day 6 – Falmouth – St Thomas – Kingston (o/n Kingston)

On this our penultimate day on the island, we will pay our respects to the millions of enslaved who died, were martyred and survived, by visiting St Ann’s Bay Baptist Church, wherein lies the only known Liberty Grave. We will then make our way south again to St Thomas, where congregations were led by Parson Kellick, Paul Bogle and George William Gordon lived. Passing through the site of Rodney Hall Court and Workhouse, once known as the ‘hell hole of Jamaica’ we will visit Morant Bay. There we will visit the Courthouse, the site of Stony Gut village and Chapel, where the greatest genocide of Ethiopian Baptists took place, leading to its demise.  We will visit Hayfield, Monklands and the mineral Baths renowned for its healing mineral waters. We will then return to Kingston.

Day 7 – Departure – Airports

As we bid you a fond farewell, if you have not made other plans on the island, then depending on the time of your  flight time, why not use your time in Kingston  to visit the Bob Marley Museum, National Heroes Park,  Devon House, or the Craft Market and Uptown Plaza.

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