Smith Memorial celebrates 160th anniversary
Guyana Chronicle
November 16, 2003

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SMITH Memorial Congregational Church, Brickdam, will celebrate its 160th anniversary on Monday, November 24.

Among the activities to mark the occasion are a Church Service on Sunday, November 23, at 09:00 hrs, and a public address to be delivered by Professor Winston McGowan at the church on Wednesday, November 19, commencing at 17:00 hrs.

The Public is invited to join the Ministers and Congregation in these activities to observe their 160th anniversary.

The Church stands resplendent on the lush green lawns of the parish situated on the Southeastern shoulder of Brickdam, Georgetown. It was erected to the memory of Reverend John Smith, a London Missionary Society Minister, who was sentenced to die by hanging for the role he allegedly played in the notorious East Coast Demerara Slave Insurrection of 1823.

He died while a prisoner on death row, on February 6, 1824. He subsequently came to be referred to as the 'Demerara Martyr', as a result of the circumstances surrounding his death.

Smith arrived in Demerara in February 1817, to succeed the Reverend John Wray at Bethel Chapel, East Coast Demerara. Smith, like his predecessor, Wray, gave instructions to the slaves. He taught them to read the Bible and Catechism. He laid the foundation of schooling and education for the slaves.

Quamina, a black slave, was Senior Deacon at Bethel Chapel located at Le Ressouvenir. His son, Jack Gladstone, and other slaves suffered death for the role allegedly played by them during the 1823 uprising, which had as its goal, the freedom of the slaves.

On November 24, 1843, exactly 20 years after the date on which the Reverend John Smith was sentenced to death, Smith Memorial Church was opened as a tribute to the work and suffering he had to endure on behalf of his deacons, members and other followers.