A multi-million-dollar house of worship at Philippi Farm, Corentyne, which was commissioned three Saturdays ago, has heads turning with its grandeur.
The Glory Light Taber-nacle Deliverance Centre was established on November 13, 1998 and was commissioned on August 27 this year by Transport Minister Robeson Benn and Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy.
The newly-commissioned place of worship has an estimated value of $300 million.
Viola Ben, a founder member of the church, told Stabroek News that it took 11 years to construct the building and put together its additional effects, “and it’s not finished yet.”
She explained that the pastor of the church Ewart Bagot has a twin brother who resides overseas and is the pastor of another church there. It was this brother, she said, who helped fund the construction. However, “we did a lot of self-help. We burned bricks, held barbecues and concerts. Others [in the church] also helped [and] members also came together and pooled for the windows.”
The woman said they had solicited assistance from the government but were unsuccessful. “I myself borrowed $1 million from the bank to assist, which I’m repaying now,” she added.
This newspaper understands that most of the furniture and other items in and around the church were shipped in from overseas, and the last set of things cleared cost about US$3,500 and there are still more to be cleared.
Surrounding the exterior of the church is what appears to be a replica of the Garden of Eden with statues of lions, flamingos, eagles and other animals, along with a variety of flowers. In addition, Ben said there are about ten fountains in the yard.
The interior of the church, according to Ben, has the capacity to house approximately 1,000 members. At first glance, the altar/pulpit area appears to be a replica of the Arc of the Covenant spoken of in the Old Testament of the Bible, with its gold embellishments.
Ben also added that there is a balcony; an office for the pastor, secretary/treasurer, and ushers. “Five entrances to get in and out, it also has two bands and much more.”
When asked whether poor members of the church would not have benefited more from the funds utilized in the construction of the church, Ben explained that the church usually gives out hampers to members who are in need, and in fact was scheduled to make donations to the hospital last
Assistance for those in need, she said, comes from overseas in barrels, which are posted by Pastor Bagot’s brother and other persons willing to help.
According to Ben, for the commissioning of the church, the regional vice-chairman assisted them in getting the street done, and he had initially invited President Jagdeo, “but unfortunately the President had to go out so Minister Benn and Minister Ramsammy came, as well as Basil Willams [of the PNCR].”
Pastor Bagot and his twin brother are also members of a gospel band called the Liberators Gospel Band, she said. It is understood that the church’s design was their brainchild.