KEREEN Gregory was an ordained pastor in an established church, but she felt as if she was not reaching the people who needed to hear the word of God from the pulpit. She decided to leave that congregation and take her ministry to the streets.
“The four walls weren’t working for me. I felt suffocated, I felt like I was stifled. So what I did, I started doing ministry on the street,” she expressed to All Woman last week. She was sitting in the office of the Naggo Head Community Resource Centre in Portmore, which serves as the home base for her new movement — the Street Disciples Prophetic and Deliverance Ministries.
“I wanted to make a change in the community,” she said, noting that her following is growing rapidly since she started in Naggo Head nearly two months ago.
On Sunday mornings, the Resource Centre is transformed into a divine deliverance centre, with over 70 congregation members worshipping together. Gregory said she believes she is fulfilling her purpose by reaching the hopeless and the lost.
“People want something that is different. We are not about telling people to come and give us their money. We are about the love for one another,” she said. “We lack love as a society. If we had more love, Jamaica wouldn’t have so much crime. I want to see a change, and my hope is to help the lost people of Jamaica. If I will lose my life in the midst of helping people, I want to die like that. My hope is to help the young girl who has been rejected, molested or raped, to say, ‘come on, there is life after all this that you have been through’.”
She has been doing just that in the streets of the poor communities across Jamaica for as long as she can remember, but it was just since December when she resigned from her pastoral duties in another church, when she decided to base her ministry in Portmore. She recalled being told by many people that her words ministered to their hearts and saved them from the clasp of death.
“I remember I took this young lady from the road, she was a cocaine addict. She was abused and was sleeping on the road. I got one of my church sisters to put her up, and we tried to take her away from the drugs. It wasn’t easy. There were days when she cut her own wrist and I had to be in the hospital with her. It’s one of the roughest tasks you could ever take up, but I would do it all over again because that is what I was called to do,” she shared.
Gregory, who is blessed with a beautiful voice, used her gift of singing to reach people as a gospel artiste, until that started to take a toll on her family life.
“I used to travel at lot, because I was a back-up singer for Carlene Davis back in the days, and then I started to do it independently, but I found out that my daughter needed me the most,” she said.
After losing three of her siblings within seven years, Gregory’s outlook on life changed, and she consciously decided to value those around her while they are alive.
“I made up my mind that I was going to love the people who I see, and spend more time with them, especially my daughter, seeing how precious life is,” she remembered.
But even while she was still doing shows and recording songs locally, Gregory still felt that there was a void within her that was not being filled through music.
“Even while I was singing people would say that I had a Shirley Caesar calling, and asked if I was sure I wasn’t called to be a minister. It was prophesied over my life that I was going to win the lost because of my story,” she said.
While Gregory remains devoted to helping those who seem hopeless, she admits that it has not been an easy road; as she has faced her share of criticism from the same people she is trying to help.
“Some people in the community say that I see people’s business,” she said pointing out that she has been given the gift of prophecy. “Some of them are even afraid to come near me.
“There was a terrible accident that I prophesied was to come, and it happened and the guy died. Even the girl who was in the car with him is afraid of me, because I told her what was going to happen, and what she was to do, and she didn’t come back, and it came to pass,” she remembered.
But Gregory maintains that she is not operating off her will, but the Lord’s, and she is doing the Lord’s work.
“There are people who just come to me for deliverance, and they go back to their church, but that doesn’t matter to me, because I am doing the Lord’s work,” she smiled.
The biggest challenge to her ministry now, however, is a financial one. There is an open air space at the resource centre that her group uses for meetings and extra classes for the children in the community. Her goal for the short term is to have that area covered, and to be able to help as many people as possible who need it.
“There is so much to do in the communities, but who is helping them, really?” she questioned. “I want to see growth. I tell them all the time that I don’t want to come here every day and see you not working or doing anything with your lives. I want to see people uplift themselves.”