TWO NEW CONGREGATIONS
Shortly after, on August 27, 1967, the Georgetown congregation was dissolved. Since no converts (that is, besides Chiefton Billingy) were made in Georgetown itself, then the actual membership of that congregation were individuals transported from villages further south. A new convert was made in South Rivers around that time. This convert was a young woman, Elma James. The convert in Georgetown proved unfaithful in his church attendance, so Ralph could see no reason for the continuation of the Georgetown church. A new place of worship on the windward side was sought. In keeping with his policy that every effort should be made to provide converts (who wanted to worship) with an opportunity to worship, the new place of worship chosen was South Rivers
In South Rivers the lower floor of a two-story dwelling house was rented. By November, a new congregation was meeting in that village. Here again the church never really grew beyond two members for the remaining time that Ralph stayed on the island of St. Vincent. Yet each Sunday the church worshipped in that village, the majority of the congregation being people transported from Lowmans and further south. Just before the dissolution of the Georgetown congregation, another convert was made in the village of Lowmans. This convert was a young lady, Pearl Husbands, who later went to Canada. Aster Barnwell also went to Canada around the same time
While Jimmy was preaching at Sandy Bay, Elliot Glasgow, James Stephenson, Rudolph Jackson went into the village of Brighton. They walked from their village home of Biabou, a distance of about six miles and began to preach to those who would listen. They converted a young lady, Carmina Sayers. They were thrilled, though somewhat surprised that they could actually win people to the Lord. They kept on going to Brighton and talking to people about the Lord. Upon noting the responsive attitude of the people of Brighton, and seeing that many converts could be made if a more determined thrust were made in the village, Elliot and the other two young men asked Clayton Soleyn to assist them in the work at Brighton.
Clayton was happy in assisting the other three young man in their work at Brighton. They began to preach at nights on the streets of that village. They would arrive in the village at dusk, and would walk around announcing to the people that they were to have an open-air meeting, and inviting them to the meeting. When it became dark they would light their kerosene hurricane lamps and begin to sing. They would sing well-known choruses and familiar hymns, and the people would gather around. However, the audiences consisted mainly of teenagers and young children. Sometimes there would be a few adults but mostly ladies. The men rarely attended those early meetings.
The preaching was simple and to the point. The speaker would point out that men have sinned against God. He then spoke of God's love in sending His son, Jesus, to die for man, that man might not die but have eternal life. He told of the death on the cross and the shedding of blood. He spoke of the burial and resurrection. He exhorted them to believe the message and repent of their sins. He told them that they should be baptized in order that their sins might be forgiven and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. They would sing and the speaker would exhort the crowd to obey the Lord.
As they continued their preaching in Brighton, they converted a few teenagers and an older lady at the outset, but later they converted more. Sandy Bay and Brighton seemed at that time to have been the most responsive areas to the preaching of the gospel. However, the Sandy Bay church rapidly outstripped the Brighton congregation in numerical growth.
Just before the church in Brighton were organized into a worshipping congregation, the Thomases moved from Retreat and began to live in Belvedere, very close to the village of Brighton. Cremona Samuel moved to Kingstown where she began training at the Kingstown hospital as a nurse. Since they were the entire membership of the Retreat congregation, this meant that there was no longer a congregation at Retreat. This left Clayton Soleyn free to preach for the Brighton converts. The converts in Brighton were told of the need to worship together as a congregation. However, the problem of a meeting place presented itself. There were no vacant houses in the small village that one could rent.
A room was located in a small house by the side of the road leading to Brighton. The congregation tried to meet in that room but gave up the effort on the second Sunday due to the cramped conditions and noises from the other occupied portion of the house. They met for many Sundays in the open air on a hill outside of the village as one approaches from Belvedere. For several Sundays they worshipped in the open on a little grassy slope, near to an old windmill tower. They sang and studied the Bible, and they ate the Lord's Supper sitting on the grassy slope in the pleasant shade of the over-spreading cocoa-shade trees. It was indeed a pleasant spot in which to worship. From there they could look out and see the rich green plains of Diamond Estate below. They could see the cattle of the estate as the grazed leisurely. Beyond the plains they could see the beach and the rolling surf then the ocean extending as far as the eye could see and even further. Occasionally there would be a Man-O-War bird, circling, soaring, gaining height as he scanned the water for prey. It was in such a setting that they worshipped and pondered such passages as "...the cattle on a thousand hills are mine," Psalms 50:10; "The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament sheweth His handiwork." Psalms 19:1; "If I take the wings of the morning and fly unto the uttermost part of the sea, behold thou art there," Psalms 139:9.
Although it was a desirable place to sit and worship, yet it was obvious that they could not continue to meet in the open. They were looking forward to the growth of the congregation and they also knew that every Sunday would not be sunny and bright. So they looked around in the village and found a man who was willing to rent them the ground floor of his house where he once had a shop. This became their regular meeting place. The congregation continued to grow.
Ralph did not do much preaching in Brighton. The work was initiated by the young men from Biabou, with later assistance from Clayton Soleyn. However, Ralph frequently provided transportation for the young men who came from Kingstown to help in the Brighton work. However, Ralph did a little preaching in that village also, and was responsible for the conversion of two young ladies. One night he went to Brighton to assist the young men in a four-night gospel meeting. He preached under a full tropical moon. That night two young ladies responded to the invitation to become Christians. Ralph insisted on baptizing them that same hour of the night. So they were taken to Villa and were baptized. That was the practice of all the young preachers also. As people repented they were baptized the same day or night, whenever such was possible.
The Brighton church was unique in some ways. The members engaged in certain activities as a group (the other congregations had none of these activities). The Brighton group would stay together long after church services were over, sometimes just singing or talking. They would have devotionals together in the open air, and one day, the whole group went to Brighton Beach for a picnic. There is a hill in Brighton on which the Government Radio Station has a transmitting station. It was to this hill that they often resorted on Sunday afternoons (after worship) to sing. One night the whole group went up on this hillside for an open-air devotional. In the full light of the moon they sang and prayed. That night two young men decided to become Christians.
One night the Brighton group was conducting a meeting on the street in Brighton, in which Clayton Soleyn preached. At the end of his lesson, an older man walked forward. He said that he wanted to become a Christian. They walked to Brighton Bay that night and baptized Orman Charles who still worships with the Brighton church today. Two other members of the Brighton church have become church leaders in the Caribbean. Cornelius George who was baptized in the early days of the Brighton congregation, later attended the Caribbean Christian College and was responsible for initiating a new work on the island of Antigua. He preaches for a congregation in St. John's Antigua. Adrian Richards, another outstanding member of the Brighton church also attended Caribbean Christian College and afterwards worked with Cornelius in St. John's.
He later went to the island of Montserrat where he started a new congregation and where he still preaches. By the end of 1967, therefore, the following congregations were meeting and worshipping regularly: Kingstown, Troumaca, South Rivers, Sandy Bay and Brighton, two of these having been started by Vincentians. In the case of Sandy Bay, Jimmy Bracken, the founder of that congregation, was a Christian for less than six months. In the case of Brighton Clayton Soleyn was a Christian for less than two years while the others, Elliot Glasgow, James Stephenson, and Rudolph Jackson, were less than one year old as Christians.