The Cayman Islands Loses Adventist Heritage Pioneer

The Cayman Islands recently lost a stalwart contributor to the development of the Adventist Church. Sister Dorinda Symbaline Greene had dedicated a lifetime to building Adventism in the Cayman Islands on a deeply spiritual plane.

Born 15 November 1940, Sister Greene held every position in the pioneering East End Church since she set out as a 14-year-old cradle roll teacher, chalking up a total of more than 100 years in multiple roles. Until shortly before her passing, she continued to serve as Stewardship Leader, Assistant Treasurer, and enthusiastic supporter of Community Services.

She grew up closely connected to Adventism, spiritually and physically, with the home of her parents, Venida and Whymon Gourzong, located just across from the early 1900’s first Adventist church edifice. Her father was born an Adventist; her mother converted after a near-death experience and could only be described as a miraculous recovery.

Very early on, their home became a refuge for the visiting elders and pastors. Sister Greene’s parents’ house also served as a sort of adjunct baptistery, receiving newly baptised members. Freshwater had been painstakingly backed by young Dorinda from the family’s well, from which it was scooped in calabash gourds to fill the waiting bathtubs and drums.

Before constructing the first concrete structure, little Dorinda and her brother Stanley gathered rocks off the bay each afternoon after school for the traditional gazebo-like structure. When the flock outgrew that building, she backed sand and water and cooked meals for the workers to construct a sturdier concrete structure. Reflecting on members’ initiatives, she said proudly at the early 1980s’ dedication that not a cent was owed on the new building. The same applied to the 2002 expansion.

After 2004’s devastating Hurricane Ivan, Dorinda was again closely involved in the church building’s rehabilitation to refurbish the edifice.

In yet another early contribution to the church’s survival as a whole, Sister Greene recalled some extraordinary circumstances that depleted both the Mission’s vault and savings account.  With some foresight, as then-Treasurer of the East End Church, she had pre-empted a financial dilemma for the church, having previously transferred funds to a fixed deposit.  Thus the East End Church was also able to help restore fluidity to the Mission’s accounts.

“When I look back at my life, I was involved in most things at the church—and thank God I enjoyed it,” Sister Green said in an interview, adding: “Where there is a need, I have to fill it.”

Today we say thank you to Sister Greene for her contributions. To her family and loved ones, we pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to provide comfort as you mourn the loss of this shining star.

By Devarro Whittaker

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