by Drs. Daryl L. Platt and Clifton L. Holland

(last revised on June 6, 2003)

Historical Overview of the Jamaica:

Jamaica discovered by Christopher Columbus:                                                                      1494

Spanish Colony established:                                                                                                1509

British defeat the Spanish, becomes a British Colony:                                                            1655

Emancipation of Slaves Declared:                                                                                         1838

Independence from England:                                                                                                1962


Number of North American agencies in 1989:                                                                            74

Number of North American agencies in 1996:                                                                            40        

Indicates European society*

Significant Protestant Beginnings or Events:

     1655       -    *Anglican clergy arrive with British occupation, mainly to minister to the white population; becomes the Established Church in Jamaica.

     1671       -    *Evangelism by Quaker missionaries

     1680       -    *Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Anglican Church

     1688       -    *First recorded reference to Presbyterians in Jamaica.

     1754       -    *Moravian Missionary Society:  Zacharias George Caries, Thomas Shallcross and Mr. Gottlieb work among the black slave population.

     1783       -    Independent Baptist Church, founded by a freed black slave from Georgia, George Liele, who also founded the First African Baptist Church (Savanna, Georgia) in North America in 1773 (he referred to his followers as “Ethiopian Baptists”--some of the churches traced to Liele became part of the Jamaican Baptist Union in 1849; others became known as Native or Spiritual Baptists, a Afro-Caribbean Christian sect; other early black Baptist preachers were Thomas Swigle, George Gibbs and Moses Baker)

     1789       -    *Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, Dr. Thomas Coke arrives to minister to the black population.

     1800       -    *Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), Scottish Missionary Society

     1810       -    *British and Foreign Bible Society

     1814       -    *Baptist Missionary Society of London begins work at Liele's request:  missionary John Rowe arrives.

     1824       -    *United Free (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland

     1824       -    *Episcopal See established by Anglican Church

     1834       -    *London Missionary Society, Congregational missionaries

     1836       -    Jamaican Missionary Presbytery, affiliated with the Church of Scotland (later known as Union of the Presbyterian Church of Jamaica and Grand Cayman)

     1837       -    American Board of Commissioners, Congregational Church (transferred to the Baptist Union in 1873)

     1842       -    Jamaican Baptist Missionary Society organized; missionaries from Jamaica sent throughout the Caribbean area, including British Honduras (now, Belize).

     1849       -    Jamaican Baptist Union formed from among independent Baptist churches.

     1857       -    *Methodist Church Missionary Society

     1858       -    Christian Church and Churches of Christ

     1865       -    Friends United Meeting World Ministry

     1876       -    United Christian Missionary Society, Christian Church (later, Disciples of Christ)

     1877       -    Congregational Union of Jamaica established

     1880       -    African Methodist Episcopal Church

     1882       -    American Friends Board of Foreign Missions

     1883       -    The Salvation Army (1914)

     1885       -    Christian Church-Disciples of Christ

     1893       -    Seventh-day Adventist, General Conference

     1896       -    Christian and Missionary Alliance

     1913       -    Pentecostal Bands of the World

     1916       -    Christian Catholic Church

     1919       -    Pilgrim Holiness Church

     1923       -    Church of God of Prophecy

     1925       -    Church of God World Missions (Cleveland, TN)

     1927       -    Seventh-Day Baptist Missionary Society

     1930       -    United Pentecostal Church International

     1931       -    Church of God (Seventh-Day) Missions

     1933       -    Church of God (Holiness) Mission

     1937       -    Assemblies of God, Foreign Missions

     1939       -    Baptist Mid-Missions

     1939       -    Child Evangelism Fellowship

     1942       -    Assemblies of God, General Council

     1945       -    World Team (formerly, West Indies Missions)

     1945       -    Church of United Brethren in Christ

     1949       -    The Missionary Church, World Partners

     1949       -    Open Bible Standard Missions, Inc.

     1958       -    Back to the Bible International

     1962       -    Protestant Reformed Churches of the USA

     1965       -    United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (a merger of the Union of the Presbyterian Church of Jamaica and Grand Cayman and the Congregational Union of Jamaica)

     1966       -    African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

     1970       -    Mennonite Central Committee

     1972       -    Baptist Bible Fellowship International

     1974       -    Baptist International Missions

     1975       -    Partners International

     1978       -    CSI Ministries

     1979       -    Faith Christian Fellowship

     1981       -    Macedonian World Baptist Missions

     1981       -    Presbyterian Church, USA

     1982       -    Emmanuel International

     1985       -    STEM Ministries

     1985       -    Island Missionary Society

     1985       -    Christian Blind Mission International

     1985       -    Reformed Baptist Mission Services

     1986       -    Christ for the Nations, Inc.

     1986       -    Mission to the World, Presbyterian Church in America

     1987       -    International Churches of Christ

     1987       -    United Church Board of World Ministries, United Church of Christ

     1988       -    International Outreach Ministries

     1989       -    World Servants

     1990       -    Evangelical Lutheran Church

     1990       -    Hope for the Hungry

     1990       -    World Salt Foundation

     1991       -    Reciprocal Ministries International

     1993       -    Habitat for Humanity International

     1993       -    Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

     1995       -    International Teams of Canada


Date of Origin Unknown:


                        Brethren Assemblies (Plymouth Brethren)

                        Church of Jesus Christ (Kingsport, TN)

                        United Methodist Church

                        Youth With A Mission (YWAM)



(1)       Dates listed indicate the earliest recorded ministry or in case of discrepancies, the date most frequently indicated.


(2)       North American Agencies include U.S. and Canadian.


(3)       In 1594 The Archbishop of Santo Domingo reported to the Spanish King that Protestant influence and Spanish Bibles had eliminated the differences between Protestants and Catholics on the North Coast (Bosch 1971:53).


(4)       The Bibles with Lutheran notes were collected from homes and burned in the public plaza by the Archbishop (Gonzales Roca, 1969).


(5)       The Alliance for Christian Service (or Board of Christian Work) was a joint ministry of the Presbyterian, Methodist and United Brethren Churches.


(1) Daryl L. Platt, "Who Represents the Evangelical Churches in Latin America? A Study of the Evangelical Fellowship Organizations." Pasadena, CA: an unpublished Doctor of Missiology Dissertation, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary, June 1991. Used by permission of the author.

(2) PROLADES (Latin American Socio-religious Studies Program), international headquarters in San José, Costa Rica: www.prolades.com, prolades@racsa.co.cr

            (3) Dayton Roberts and John Siewert, editors:  Mission Handbook of U.S. and Canadian Christian Ministries Overseas (MARC 1989).

            (4) John A. Siewert and Edna G. Valdez, editors: Mission Handbook of U.S. and Canadian Christian Ministries Overseas (MARC 1997).

(5)     Jean-Jacques Bauswein and Lukas Vischer, The Reformed Family Worldwide (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999).