There are six stamps and a First Day Cover in the Christmas 2007 – Stained-glass windows series, which will be released on Monday, 22 October. The stamps feature stained-glass windows at Wesleyan Holiness Church (25¢); Elmslie Memorial Church (50¢); St. George’s Anglican Church (75¢); East End Seventh-Day Adventist Church (80¢); First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman ($1) and Frank Sound Church of God ($1.50). The image on the First Day Cover, which has all the stamps affixed to it, is a handmade quilt in the Little Cayman Baptist Church. The leaflet, which customers will receive with purchase of a First Day Cover, offers a brief history of the churches along with an explanation of the windows.
25¢ – Wesleyan Holiness Church
150 Northwest Point Road
Although Cayman’s first Wesleyan chapel was built in 1841 at Boatswain Bay, Rev. James Atkins had established the religion in 1837 after being commissioned by the British government to carry out a census of the Cayman Islands. Rev. Atkins noted that there were no churches here, and upon his return to Jamaica he sent a report to the Wesleyan missionary headquarters in London. Two years later Mark Bird was sent as the first resident Wesleyan minister. That year a day school was also set up, with a Mr. Coe as teacher, but it closed in 1845 owing to a lack of finances. In the absence of resident missionaries, three women from Boatswain Bay shared responsibilities at the Wesleyan chapel until the turn of the century. Renewed interest in the island by various ministers and denominations was seen in the 1900s. In 1924, Pilgrim Holiness Church was built in North West Point, and in 1968, the merger of Pilgrim Holiness Church of America with the Wesleyan Methodist Church resulted in a new name – the Wesleyan Holiness Church. A school, which is still in operation, was re-established in 1977. Hurricane Ivan destroyed the North West Point church, which was rebuilt a year later. This window, showing the birth of Jesus in a manger, was purchased by Mrs. Francis Stratton in memory of her husband, Hank Stratton, and her parents, Hurlsey and Katie Hydes.
50¢ – Elmslie Memorial Church
48 Harbour Drive
Elmslie, as it is affectionately known, has an endearing connection with the Cayman Islands community. This is so for a couple of reasons – Elmslie is one of the oldest churches on Grand Cayman, and it plays host to numerous national celebrations. The site that Elmslie Memorial currently occupies was first used by the Anglican church in 1837, but a hurricane that same year destroyed the structure. Church elders rebuilt with wattle and daub, but that building was destroyed by a hurricane in 1876. A third church was wrecked in 1917 by another devastating hurricane. Three years later the structure familiar to most residents was designed by Mr. R. Gillies, a Scottish architect based in Jamaica, and built by Caymanian shipwright Capt. Rayal Brazley Bodden. The church was named Elmslie Memorial on 1 July 1920 in memory of the first Presbyterian missionary to Cayman, Rev. James Elmslie. Elmslie was the first structure in the Cayman Islands to be built of concrete blocks, and most of the timber used in the building was salvaged from shipwrecks. The stained-glass window, sponsored by Dr. Roy McTaggart, pictures Christ’s ascent into Heaven.
75¢ – St. George’s Anglican Church
69 Courts Road
When Anglican deacon Thomas Sharpe was sent to Grand Cayman as the first resident clergyman in 1831, he was provided with places of worship in George Town and Bodden Town that had been used by residents for some years. Sharpe left in 1834 and was replaced in 1836 by Rev. David Wilson. Two back-to-back hurricanes, in September and October of 1837, virtually destroyed St. George’s in George Town and seriously damaged the church at Bodden Town. The work of the Anglican church lapsed for a more than a century after 1839. After the work was re-established in the 1960s, the island’s Anglicans met in various places. On 20 June 1976 Rev. E.D. Edmonson, bishop of the diocese, officiated at the dedication of the present site and the groundbreaking for the church; he returned on 17 February 1978 for the laying of the cornerstone. The building was dedicated on 1 April 1979. The church was severely damaged by hurricane Ivan in September 2004. Two years later, the restoration completed, St. George’s Church was re-dedicated on Sunday, 10 September 2006. St. George’s Anglican Church falls within the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, which is headed by the Right Reverend Dr. Alfred Reid, bishop of the diocese. The stained-glass window, donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Elliott, illustrates Jesus calling to his disciples “Follow me.”
80¢ – East End Adventist Church
2638 Seaview Road
The Seventh-Day Adventist religion was brought to Cayman by Capt. Gilbert McLaughlin of East End in 1894. While in Honduras, Capt. McLaughlin heard a roadside meeting one night, held by a preacher from America. Out of curiosity he stayed to listen and was eventually convinced that what he was hearing was indeed the gospel truth. He was baptized, returned to Cayman, and exchanged his navigational instruments for spreading word of God’s salvation. It was not an easy task, because Sundays were held in the highest esteem; it is said that even his wife ridiculed him for his foolish ideas. To show that he was not giving in to her tirades, Capt. McLaughlin walked the length of East End on Sunday mornings, carrying his axe and machete, so everyone could see that he no longer observed Sunday as God’s day of rest. He held Sabbath school and other services in his own home, but as interest grew, so did the numbers, and he soon needed a larger place of worship. He bought a piece of land and built a church. After it was destroyed by a hurricane, he replaced it with a thatched booth carpeted with clean white sand and used that for several years; it even survived the 1932 hurricane. However, as the believers increased, the need arose for a bigger church. Today, over 100 years later, Adventism has more than 2,300 members. The stamp pictures a dove flying with an olive branch, signifying hope, which is part of the spiritual message. The windows were donated by Mr. Linford Pierson, Verne Forbes and Will and Sybil Jackson.
$1 – First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman
920 Crewe Road
Twenty-one people started the First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, gathering in a living room with missionaries from the International Mission Board on 17 July 1977. This year First Baptist celebrates 30 years of gospel ministry with a diverse congregation representing more than 25 nationalities. In the early years, First Baptist was known as “the church on the move” because of its frequently changing location, but it eventually settled on Smith Road in 1980 and then moved into the present facility at Crewe Road in 1997. First Baptist is an evangelical church committed to the ministry of God’s word in all aspects of church life. The stained-glass window shows a cross planted on the globe.
$1.50 – Frank Sound Church of God
127 Frank Sound Road
The Frank Sound Church of God was built in 1996. The stained glass was envisioned as a type of message that could influence those who pass by the church, since people always remember its beauty. Frank Sound Church of God is one of four churches of this denomination in Grand Cayman and one in Cayman Brac. The Church of God has been in the Cayman Islands for over 75 years and includes Triple C School as part of its programme. The church is considered a beacon light for the eastern districts, with its focus on the island’s youth. This window shows Jesus holding a lamb.
First Day Cover - Christmas 2007
Little Cayman Baptist Church
1002 Guy Banks Road
Little Cayman’s original church building, known as Bethel Baptist Church, was erected in the late 1880s. The Little Cayman Church, along with three others, was sponsored by the Jamaica Baptist Missionary Society (JBMS), following a visit to Cayman Brac by Rev. Joshua Heath Sobey in 1885. After that structure was destroyed by the 1932 hurricane, Capt. Samuel Bodden rebuilt the church; the new building remained in use until 2000, when Capt. and Mrs. Charles Kirkconnell, along with many island residents, ensured that a new church was built. The first resident missionary in Little Cayman was Rev. William H. Rutty. The JBMS supplied and sponsored missionaries until the 1930s, after which they were no longer able to carry on the work. In 1937 the Florida Bible Institute began sending missionaries, beginning with Rev. Harris B. Bragan. Like the Baptist churches on Cayman Brac, Little Cayman Church was served by lay preachers and a series of American pastors, but it wasn’t until 1997 that a full-time pastor was hired. The quilt titled “The Seven Days of Creation” was donated by Cayman Quilters in 2003. CIPS chose to feature this beautiful quilt on the First Day Cover to showcase the Sister Islands, as we understood that there was no stained glass in the churches there. After the stamp issue went to press, we were informed that Crossroads United Baptist Church in West End, Cayman Brac, has stained-glass windows; we regret that we were unable to include them, but we believe that the handmade quilt in Little Cayman Baptist Church provides a lovely and fitting focus on the Sister Islands’ traditions.