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Story Highlights

  • Rev. Hortense Kerr, has been honoured by the Social Development Commission (SDC) for more than 60 years of service to the Granville and Pitfour communities.
  • A Service of Appreciation and Thanksgiving in honour of Ms. Kerr was held at the Webster Memorial Baptist Church in Granville, St. James, on Saturday, June 7.
  • Lamenting that many stories about Granville in the media do not highlight the good, Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams insists that there are many positive things happening in the area.

Community leader and one of the unsung heroes in St. James, Rev. Hortense Kerr, has been honoured by the Social Development Commission (SDC) for more than 60 years of service to the Granville and Pitfour communities.

A Service of Appreciation and Thanksgiving in honour of Ms. Kerr was held at the Webster Memorial Baptist Church in Granville, St. James, on Saturday, June 7.

In her address at the ceremony, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, said the partnerships between Government and citizens are important for nation building and community development, as Government cannot achieve this alone.

Lamenting that many stories about Granville in the media do not highlight the good, Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams insists that there are many positive things happening in the area.

“There are good people in Granville (who are) giving back to the community and Rev. Kerr is one such example, with 60 years of committed service to the church and to the community. It is very important that the Church understands that it’s about building the Kingdom of God and building the nation as well,” she said.

The State Minister hailed Rev. Kerr as a one of a kind. “If we had more Sister Kerrs there would be less violence in our communities. There would be more young people who would have been taken care of. She looks after the poor and the dispossessed and it is not that she is a person of means, but she is a person with a lot of faith and believes that with her faith she can get help for others,” she said.

‘Sister Kerr’, as she is affectionately called, served as a Minister of Religion for more than 30 years. She resigned her position in the Prophet Church of God in 1981, but continued her ministry in Granville and Pitfour, and the wider western Jamaica community.

She continues to assist the Granville All Age School, St. James Infirmary, Good Shepherd AIDS Hospice, the West Haven Home for Disabled Children, as well as the poor and dispossessed in communities in St. James, Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland.

Also paying tributes were Rev. Kerr’s daughters, Mrs. Jennifer Smith-Williams and Dr. Beverley Smith, who said their mother is a woman of faith and prayer, who taught them how to love unconditionally and how to walk out their faith.

They spoke of their mother’s integrity as one who lives her public and private lives in the same vein. “The same unshakeable faith that she professes in public is the same faith that she practises at home,” Mrs. Smith-Williams said.

In a citation read by Dr. Smith, she said her mother’s life is one “of complete devotion and dedication to the ministry, the work of God. A life characterized  by undeterred commitment and resilience, demonstrated by her drive to not just preach the Word  but to practise  and to use the Word of God as a weapon and a tool for transformation, both spiritually and socially.”

Dr. Smith presented the inaugural Hortense Kerr Community Service and Leadership Award from the New Jersey, USA-based Leadership Development and Innovation Foundation to the Granville Health Centre.

The award is presented to an individual or institution that emulates or displays the values of leadership and integrity. The cheque for US$1,000.00 was received on behalf of the Granville Health Centre by Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams and Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Michael Troupe.

Also paying tributes were: Rev. Godfrey Francis of Webster Memorial Baptist Church; Rev. Amos Samuels from the New Testament Church of God; Rev. Woosie James of the Church of God of Prophesy; Rev. Monica Cox of the First Church of the Open Bible; and Rev Phillip Gordon and Rev. Yvonne Gordon of Lighthouse of Faith Ministries International.