The History Of Bibleway Churches UK

Directed by Jason Young 

There will be a screening of the history of a Caribbean Apostolic church movement in Britain, known as Bibleway Churches UK, for Black History Month in October. It features Pastor Peter Nembhard from the ARC Church in London and pays tribute to Bishop Leon Edgar White, the father of Pastor Mike White of the Tab London.

The Caribbean Apostolic Church provided medication to the Caribbean community in the 1960s and ‘70s at a time when they were contained in the workplace. It countered the humiliating experience of racism that they confronted in employment, housing and education. Whereas they were constrained and restricted in low-paid menial jobs, they were liberated in the church which made them feel good about themselves. 

Their chances of promotion and career progression in secular work were limited. But in the Caribbean Apostolic Church, they were given their dignity back by being elevated to higher office. The Caribbean Church provided a release from some of the hostile environments generated by a climate of racism in society. 

Documentary Director, Jason Young, says:

Jamaica has the highest ratio of churches to people in the world. Christianity is integrated into Jamaican culture, which is where race and faith intersect. You cannot tell Black history in Britain without telling the history of Caribbean churches in Britain. Most people in the Black community and most of the achievements in the Caribbean community have come through or out of the Caribbean Church. Most successful Black people have sought prayers from the church or pastoral support from the church to get them on their feet. This documentary is British history told from a Caribbean Christian perspective.

He goes on to say:

We interviewed over 20 people to record their history of the Caribbean contribution to British history. Some of their struggles and experiences of daily macro-aggressions of prejudice had lived on in their minds for decades and had impacted their mental health. As we interviewed some of them, we discovered that a few had an internalised pathology of surviving the trauma of racism in the 1960s and ‘70s, choosing not to speak about it to anyone as a form of a survival strategy. Many of them would have suffered poor mental health leading to a breakdown had it not been for the Caribbean Apostolic church, which provided medicine through pastoral care and support. It brought a sense of mental balance and perspective that gave them a sense of dignity.

The overrepresentation of Caribbean people in the mental health system in the UK is a result of the racial trauma they experienced which contributed to their breakdown. By telling their story through this documentary, they were able to liberate themselves from their past.

The screening of The History of Bibleway Churches UK will take place on Saturday 15th October at 5 pm. You can set a reminder by subscribing to Gospel Temple’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ZNRidxWCcfE.

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