The very first Lutheran School on the Island of Jamaica was recently dedicated in the impoverished area of downtown Kingston, known as Parade Gardens.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod began work in Jamaica in 1993, through the Nebraska Lutheran Mission Society. In 1997, the LCMS awarded Lutheran Ministries in Jamaica (LMJ) a community health outreach grant. Subsequent grants subsidized a women’s micro-enterprise project, agriculture projects, and hurricane relief and reconstruction. Since 2007, LAC’s longest serving alliance missionary, Rev. Obot Ite, has been planting churches alongside wife Abas and daughter, Goodness, through a partnership between the Lutheran Church in his native Nigeria, and the LCMS. The island boasts two congregations in its capital, Kingston: Faith, which worships on the second floor of a building in the heart of downtown; and St. Andrew, which worships in a multi-use facility near a bustling transportation hub. Pastor Ite also visits an extended family in Bois Content once a month for catechesis, and a community of believers gathers weekly in Westmoreland, on the western side of the island, under the leadership of Jamaican native and pastoral candidate Claudious. September 2019 ushered in the first academic year for Parade Gardens Lutheran School, a basic school run by a member of Faith that was spared from closure and brought under the Church’s umbrella thanks to generous partners. LMJ’s outreach is closely aligned with the activities of Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM); Director Ancella works out of an office in the same building as St. Andrew as she oversees a radio program and shares the message of Christ with children in an ever-expanding circle of schools using materials written from a Lutheran perspective. Short-term teams assist with ongoing renovations to LMJ facilities, support the faculty and students at Parade Gardens Lutheran School, and multiply the reach of LHM.