COVID-19 claims Jamaican Windrush church leaders in UK

Two Jamaicans who went to the United Kingdom during the Windrush era and became church leaders in Wolverhamption died 24 hours apart after contracting the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the BirminghamLive newspaper reported yesterday.

“Reverend Bishop Horatio Fearon, who was in his 80s, died on April 1 after testing positive for COVID-19. The following day Reverend Bishop Theophilus Augustus McCalla, 86, also passed away after contracting the virus,” the BirminghamLive report stated.

According to the report, both men were highly respected and were hailed as pillars of the community. They held key roles in the Church of God of Prophecy in Gloucester Street.

The newspaper quoted Professor Doreen McCalla, Bishop McCalla’s niece, as saying that her uncle was “extremely witty and very funny. He often cracked jokes a lot and would come out with witty statements. He didn’t mind laughing at himself”.

She also remembered the late bishop as a people person, a straight-talker and honest man who was always good with advice.

“He loved God and loved people,” the report quoted Professor McCalla.

“Young members praised him for encouraging them to excel and achieve their best but to remain humble,” she added.

Bishop McCalla, the newspaper reported, played a key role in setting up the Nehemiah Housing Association in 1989. “The project is still in operation and helps members of the African and Caribbean community to access housing and accommodation.”

The BirminghamLive story also said Bishop Fearon was remembered for his incredibly kind and supportive nature, adding that for four years in the late 1970s he was the pastor of Jubilee Christian Centre.

The story said that after arriving in England from Jamaica, both men set about helping establish the first Midlands branch of the Church of God of Prophecy in the late 1950s.

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