Faith Wesleyan Holiness Church began a vision of Sis. Zeathea Armstrong, a former member of First Wesleyan Holiness Church on the western end of St. Thomas, USVI. Her vision turned into a lively band of energetic Christians called The Mission Highway Workers (MHW). The group was comprised of about twenty persons. The objective of the MHW was to spread the gospel and win souls to the Lord. The countryside was ripe for witnessing so the missionaries turned their attention there.
Within one year, under the supervision of Sis. A, the MHW saw the need to 'establish a work' on the east end of St. Thomas. Bro William Allen was selected as the Lay Leader of the pioneer church at Donoe Project, under the directorship of then pastor Patrick Thomas and First Wesleyan Holiness Church.
On April 20th, 1975, the first Sunday service was held and Bro. Newton Peters was the speaker. The following week, April 27th, the new Wesleyan Sunday school was launched with Sis. Verona Browne as the Superintendent. There were twenty-seven children in attendance.
The Wesleyan impact was growing and another location was offered to the missionaries. Simultaneously with the Donoe outreach, they began conducting meetings at the Hidden Valley Center with Bro. Newton Peters as Lay Leader. At both locations, Sunday services began at 9:45 AM with Sunday school and Worship Service at 11:00 AM.
As the two pioneer churches grew, the need for a larger, more permanent structure arose. On January first, 1984, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at 253 A & C Anna's Retreat. Pastor A. Wingrove Taylor was the speaker. At the suggestion of Pastor Carlston Christie, who was at this time serving the Hidden Valley pioneer church, the groups merged. The first combined service was held on December 16th, 1984 at the Hidden Valley location.
While work continued at the Anna's Retreat location, the group sought God's face for a name for the church. The name Faith Wesleyan Holiness Church was selected and the pioneers decided to begin services on the first level of the new church building while continuing to complete the structure. On August 18th, 1985, the Christie's were installed for service at Faith Wesleyan Holiness Church, 253 A & C Anna's Retreat. The first Local Conference was held on October 14th, 1985. The membership, at this time had risen to about forty-five.
Diligent work continued to erect the second floor of the edifice which was slated to be the sanctuary. In 1989 and again in 1995, the new church was dealt two devastating blows as a results of hurricanes, Hugo and Marilyn respectively. These were disappointing and difficult times for the Saints and followers. However, they trusted their God to see them through. So, with God's ever-present help and the encouragement of many, the members continued building the structure.
Faith Wesleyan Holiness is one of seven in the Virgin Islands District and one of some 200 Wesleyan Holiness Churches across the Caribbean that comprise the Caribbean General Conference of Wesleyan Holiness Churches. The Caribbean Conference is affiliated with the North American General Conference of the Wesleyan Church and part of the wesleyan World Fellowship of Churches.
Faith Wesleyan Holiness Church is run under the leading of the Holy Spirit and the Caribbean Wesleyan Discipline or By-laws. It's sister churches in the Virgin Islands are Beeston Hill, Trinity, Fredericksted and Midland Wesleyan Holiness Churches in St. Croix, USVI, Calvary Wesleyan Holiness Church in Tortola, BVI and its "mother church", First Wesleyan Holiness.
Original members of Faith Wesleyan Holiness Church included Bros: Lemuel Sampson, Felix Peters and wife, Gwen, Newton Peters and wife, Irene, Erwin Peters and wife, Araminta, Johnathan Challenger, Jonas; Sis. Verona Browne, Jennings, Dorothy Alfred- Joseph.
Reverend Leroy Luke and First Lady Elzar Luke
FAITH WESLEYAN HOLINESS CHURCH
Rev. Leroy A. Luke is an ordained minister of the Wesleyan Holiness Church in the British and United States Virgin Islands. He serves multiple roles in the VI District of the Wesleyan Holiness Church. Currently, he serves as pastor of Faith Wesleyan Holiness Church (FAWHC) on St. Thomas: a position he has held for over fifteen years. As such, Pastor Luke is the chairman of the Local Board of Administration of FAWHC. He has also been serving on the District Board of Administration of the Wesleyan Holiness Churches of the Virgin Islands for the past nine years. Additionally, he is currently the Assistant District Superintendent, a position he has held for over two years.
Pastor Luke strongly believes that God’s hand has been on his life for many years. He often confesses that he could not have been where he is without the grace of God, and as such he is ever grateful! Pastor Luke is committed to executing the mission statement of the church needs: “to evangelize the lost, to disciple the believers, to equip the church, and minister to social needs of the church and the community”. His message to the lost is, “You need Jesus Christ.” One of his frequent quote is, “God is chasing after you to share His love with you”. That message is deeply embedded within the salvation messages he preaches and his generous giving to the needy. Pastor is a people-person who believes that God loves ordinary people and does extraordinary feats for His children. His greatest passion is his genuine desire to cultivate an atmosphere of love and unity in the church where God’s people can be edified in the Lord. He often reminds the saints that, ‘We can trust God even when we can’t trace Him’.
Finally, Pastor Luke is a family man who serves the members of Faith Wesleyan holiness church faithfully together with his lovely wife, Elzar. They are the proud parents of five children: Arnold, Sean, Shari, Aaron and Sharima Luke, and six grandchildren: Armani, Tenaji, Ariana, AJ, Aaminah, and Tarek. Both Rev. and Mrs. Luke are very quiet individuals who enjoy doing Gods business without fanfare. They have been serving the Lord for almost forty years. The couple’s earnest desire is to continue serving the Lord by ministering his Word to others until He comes or calls them home.
To God be the glory!
Alexa Young, CA