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Willing Williams

Anesta Henry

Willing Williams

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WHEN Reverend Carlyle?Williams steps down next month as district superintendent of the Wesleyan Holiness Church, he still plans to be “part of the show”.
The 66-year-old who headed the 38 Wesleyan churches across Barbados has made it clear that he will be just shifting from one gear to the next; he intends to continue serving his church and community.
In an interview at his Whitepark Road, St Michael office, Williams told the SUNDAY SUN of his involvement in the ministry to which he had entrusted his life because he had a “love for people and Jesus”.
Williams said though he thanked God for his parents, he had not been raised in the church by them, but from the time he decided to give his life to God in 1961 “everything fell into place”. Everything included his deciding to become a minister within the local Methodist Church.
“At 17 years old, almost immediately after I became a Christian, I had a strong spiritual indication that this was where God was leading me. It was not just an impression; but my interest and my exposure in dealing with people all formed part of that training procedure, so that in 1967 when I was accepted at the Caribbean Wesleyan College (Barbados), it was just a continuation of that training.”
Just two years into his stay at the college, Williams became the assistant pastor at the Black Rock Wesleyan Holiness Church where he served until he graduated in 1971.
Upon completing college, he assumed pastoral duties at Cane Garden and The Lakes Wesleyan Holiness churches (1971 to 1981) and then Chalky Mount (1980 and 1981) all in the same parish. From 1981, he served at the Kew Wesleyan Holiness Church [now Mount Of Praise] until he took up his position as district superintendent.
“At the pastoral level I have seen quite a number of persons make substantial developments in their personal life in terms of their careers and turning around their lives from emptiness to satisfaction. There are quite a number of persons who were under the influence of my pastoral ministry, and people would refer to them then as the riff-raff, but they are now holding prominent positions in this nation and beyond.
“Some of them are even in the pastoral ministry, and that must account for something. My ministry involves premarital counselling for young people getting married, and post-marital counselling – for those in established marriages, some of which have failed.
“Communities have benefited from my presence, my ministry and my being able to connect persons in the community together. I believe that the church is not just about saving souls; it is also about the total development of people,” said the first vice-president of the Barbados Evangelical Association as he highlighted his contribution to the church and community.
 Williams said that when he was appointed to his administrative position, one of his major concerns was the lack of continual ministerial development of the young people within the church to replace aging ministers on their way out.
Major challenge
“That was one major challenge, because the success of the denomination depends largely upon the effectiveness of the local church. So under my leadership we started a local training programme for ministers and that was in addition to the services offered by the college.
We also sought and established opportunities for persons to do their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and even the doctoral programme under the affiliation with the Georgetown University of the Americas. As a result of our efforts, the church began to expand,” said the father of three.
The pastor who “thinks before I speak and speak when it is necessary” says there are some urgent needs in society which the church needs to respond to.
“The church in Barbados has its strengths and its needs. The church is still the major agency in the community to bring about holistic change, even at this time when crime and violence have raised their head again, and when there is a serious weakness in family life.
“The home is the heart of the society; your society will never be able to rise higher than your family.
“With the number of young mothers and grandmothers, and the absence of mature fathers, we have a serious problem at this level. I believe that family life should be taught to our young people as early as age 12. Too many young people are getting pregnant by accident and they are not prepared for parenthood, and many of the grandparents are not prepared themselves,” Williams said.
What of modern-day ministers and their intended purpose of becoming ministers?
“Some pastors are just entrepreneurs; people who just see the money to the extent that they are coming with prosperity Gospel. Unless I appear looking a particular way, drive a particular car, or have my own personal jet . . . I am not cutting it.
“I was not taught that way in the church and I do not see it in the Bible, and if at all I see myself as an exploiter of those situations, I am in serious trouble, because people have worth and value.”
Williams further stated: “Our church has a policy that our church is accountable to a board. At the end of the year, our finances must be audited and you must have an auditor’s report. The pastor is not the treasurer of the local church and he has to give a report at the end of the year.
“Similarly the district superintendent has to give a report to the conference. And every year after our district conference we have to send a report to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs which must be accompanied by an auditor’s report. A church must see itself as a servant of the people, its community, the Government of Barbados and to God. The church is no one-man business . . . .
I know that there are others who are not there; but they need to get there,” Williams said.