Honoring women of Faith & Works
Zion Baptist Church’s Women’s Ministry recognized five women for whom they say believe church is more than just dressing up and attending church. These women live out their faith and works and go beyond passively sitting on their hands.
The women’s ministry officials describe Gerlean Jones, Veronica Smith, Rachael Mackey, Janet Davis-Dorsett, and Vivian C. Moss as trailblazers.
“There is a need to recognize and celebrate modern day godly female role models and their gutsy actions,” said Carolyn Rolle, a Women’s Ministry coordinator with Sheila Strachan and Clothie Lockhart.
“Unlike Christian nice girls, these are God’s good women who chose to be good instead of just nice, and subsequently bring God glory, and advance his kingdom. In living out God’s word, they are proving that God prefers his women to do more than passively sit on their hands. These trailblazers have chosen risky paths for women.
They are being recognized for showing how they lived out their unique callings despite challenges and opposition — inspiring modern men and women to imitate their godly examples today.
Jones, Smith, Mackey, Davis-Dorsett, and Moss were honored at Zion’s annual Women in White Ingathering Service on Sunday, May 27.
“These women we have lifted up, we can use them as living examples of women of faith and works,” said Rolle.
She said Women’s Ministry is dedicated to equipping and encouraging women to be the revival in their homes and communities across the Bahamian archipelago.
Jones may be 92-years-old, but Rolle said every Wednesday at 3 p.m., she can be found at the hospital, witnessing and giving encouragement to patients.
“Gerlean Jones is altogether beautiful and beautiful in every way,” said Rolle. “This is what King Solomon wanted to say about the beautiful life of this woman dedicated to God and family.”
A member of Annex Baptist Cathedral, Leader Jones as she is referred to by her fellow parishioners, served as Sunday school superintendent and teacher; women’s missionary president, and hospital mission attendant.
She is the oldest serving member of her church’s sanctuary choir, and her melodious voice takes the lead as she blends her voice with her sisters in a family group called the Jubilee Singers.
Rolle said Jones’ service to God goes beyond her local church, serving as a member of the Adopt-A-Grandparent Club at Christian Life Church, the Bible Society of the West Indies Bahamas Auxiliary and the Englerston Urban Renewal.
“OJer,” as she is affectionately called by those close to her, is also an example of true love, which she displays every day. OJer’s patience and kindness is shown through her service to the Englerston community. She’s the owner of GJ’s Convenience Store on Podoleo Street and her dedication to the customers, who purchase sweets, treats and breadbasket items daily, represents her commitment to faithful service. OJer loves to cook, especially the Saturday menu of chicken and macaroni, which is loved by many in the community, family and friends.”
Jones was born in Hard Hill, Acklins, in 1926, and raised in a Christian home with her parents, Ossie and Estella Deveaux (both deceased) who instilled strong biblical principles into her and her siblings. She remained faithful to God in her relocation to Nassau in 1956 with her husband Edward (deceased) where they reared their 10 children.
Reverend Rachael L. Mackey
According to Rolle, Rachael Mackey was deserving of recognition as her music has soothed many troubled souls.
“Rev. Rachael ‘Mother Mack’ Mackey has made valuable contributions to her church, community, and country at large. More importantly, Rev. Rachael is a godly woman. She is a woman of character and integrity. She leads a life that is open and honest and continues to be that strong, matronly example that we can emulate. Her singing and preaching draws us all closer to God,” she said.
Mackey is referred to as the “Bahamian Mahalia Jackson”; she believes that God will give her the strength to overcome all the obstacles that she faces in life.
She was born in 1945 on Andros. At about the age of seven at approximately 3 a.m. one morning, she is said to have heard a voice calling her and that she got up and went to her parents’ bedroom to see what they needed as it had sounded like her father’s voice. However, it was not her father who had called her. This happened about three times. On the third time, Mackey said she began to cry because she thought her father was playing tricks on her. She says the fourth time it happened, her father told her to say: “Speak Lord, for your servant heareth.” Mackey says the voice told her to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Seven days later she was sanctified. Ten days later she was baptized in water, and as she came up out of the water, she says she was baptized in the Holy Ghost and began speaking with tongues. Mackey said every time the Holy Ghost came on her or she prayed, she would begin to speak in tongues and that in 1965 she received the gift of interpreting tongues.
Davis-Dorsett, a member of Zion Baptist Church who volunteers in the Sunday school department was honored for the time she gives children in her capacity as a medical practitioner.
She is the daughter of Edward Davis and Merlene Adderley-Dean (both deceased), and the third of five children.
She is married to Philip Dorsett, a commercial artist and teacher, and they have two sons, Mario and Philip.
Veronica Smith has been an organist at Zion Baptist Church for years, and has never sought to be paid for playing, according to Rolle.
Smith was born in 1941, the second of 10 children from the union of Charles and Arabella Wildgoose, in Matthew Town, Inagua, where the importance of family, school, church, and service were instilled and reinforced with the anchoring understanding of God as the source and sustainer of life.
Zion Baptist Church, Inagua, was the church of her upbringing. Having engaged in music lessons, she began playing the organ at church in her youth. When she relocated to New Providence to attend nursing school, her time at Zion Baptist Church, East and Shirley Streets began under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Talmage Sands. She began playing the organ at Zion New Providence in 1959; first for Sunday School and then for the main church service. Inevitably, Zion Baptist East & Shirley Streets became her home church and, with the exception of periods of nursing deployment to the Family Islands, she functioned faithfully as an organist and member of the choir from that time to the present.
Vivian C. Moss
Rolle says, Vivian C. Moss doesn’t say much, but she is known for walking up to fellow members, rubbing their hands and telling them that she is praying for them.
“A woman of virtue and grace, her life in Christ is no doubt etched in the annals of glory for she is one who has dedicated her life and work to God’s people and God’s church,” said Rolle. “With her humble and quiet persona, she is known for her faithful attendance and participation at church [every] Sunday and Mid-Day Mana and Seniors’ Prayer Time [every] Wednesday.”
Moss was born on Acklins to the late Robert and Ethel Hanna. She is one of four children. And was married to the late Clifford Moss; they had three children.