Colin’s history lesson
Colin Jordan has been on a journey since retiring as president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association. Though he’s still at his primary job at Mango Bay Hotel, he has been compiling a history of the Mile-And-A-Quarter Seventh Day Adventist Church, which he has recently released in a book called Our Journey Of Hope, Milestones Along the Way.
“I’ve always been interested in history,” Colin said.
“After the 80th anniversary of our church, I thought we should document something about the church.”
The book, which was published in October, actually took him about nine months to write last year, but for Colin it truly was a labour of love.
For him one of the high points was conducting interviews with Uma Walker, the youngest sister of the man who actually started the Mile-And-A-Quarter Seventh Day Adventist church.
“Her memory was so good. I mean she remembered the first service,” Colin said.
“She was really my inspiration. She was a lady who I respected quite a bit. For the last five years of her life I would have taken her to church every Sabbath morning. She had two children. Her daughter died many years ago and her son lived in Trinidad so I started taking her to church. She was one of my mentors and knew a lot about the Seventh Day Adventist Church in general.”
Colin admitted that she was instrumental in providing a lot of background information that he was able to use in his book.
“Most of the book is about Mile-And-A-Quarter specifically,” he said.
“Some of the older persons would not be familiar with how the church started.”
However, it was actually after Colin started writing the book that it not only renewed his love for history, but he realized that we have deficiencies in preserving our history.
“We need to do a lot more documenting of out history,” he said.
“Our technological age makes me uncertain about things like record-keeping. I’m not sure that we do enough documenting of our history and if we don’t do the documenting, then the story is lost. When older people die, everything, that knowledge dies with them.”
According to Colin, he left Harrison College with a love for history.
“It was actually Sir Hilary Beckles while I was at UWI [who] put into my head about the oral tradition. Given that we come out of the slave tradition, a lot of older people couldn’t read or write, so we relied on their memory,” he said, ‘If we don’t document, we’re going to lose a lot of our history.’ I am of the view that if we don’t know where we come from, we’ll end up making the same mistakes that were made in the past. The younger people don’t seem to be interested in connecting with the past; I think it’s because of the technological age we live in.
“But there’s a spiritual connection that you lose in using the experiences of the past to guide and inform us when we’re going into the future.”
Colin is concerned that the wide gap between young and old in Barbadian society today has led to a lack of appreciation of the elderly.
“The youngsters don’t talk to the old people and they want to talk, so that connection is lost,” he said.
“The spirit of the society is lost if the history is lost.”
But Colin felt good that he was able to chronicle the history of his church with the help of one of its earliest members.
“When Alison Smith who assisted me brought the box of books, I felt a chill or a thrill,” he said. “To actually see the books – it was really something else.”