The Brooklyn-based St. Matthias Charities, Inc. (SMCI) recently honored a Carriacou, Grenada-born pastor with its Community Service Award at its 9th Annual Fundraising Dinner at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
“What I love about this man is his devotion to the community, his humility,” said Pastor Robert McBarnett, SMCI’s Vincentian-born founder and president, about Dr. Cyprian Matthew Joseph, pastor of the Crown Heights Gospel Church, Inc., in presenting the award.
“This man deserves to be honored,” added Pastor McBarnett at the gala event attended by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General to the United States Rondy “Luta” McIntosh. “This man needs to be honored.”
Pastor Joseph told Caribbean Life afterwards that he, first and foremost, thanked “God for giving me a heart for mission and the love and care for people in whatever state they find themselves in.
“I also want to thank Pastor Robert McBarnett and St. Matthias Charities for considering me as a worthy candidate for this honor,” he said. “I always try to shy away from the fact that the work I do should be honored in the first place, but I also believe (that), sometime, people can see in you what you don’t see in yourself.
“I must say that it felt good to be honored and to know that, although our greatest reward is in Heaven, that we do experience some small ones down here on earth,” Pastor Joseph added. “I continue to be motivated to do the Lord’s work and to partner with Pastor McBarnett and St. Matthias Charities for future missions.
“Following the Great Commission, the word of God charges us in Matt. 28:19-20: ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,’” he continued.
Pastor Joseph said he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in 1983, and migrated to the United States in 1988, where he was led to the ministry of Crown Heights Gospel Church in Brooklyn under the leadership of Bishop Edwin James.
Pastor Joseph said he has remained faithful to this ministry up to today, and has faithfully served, over the years, in many areas of ministry, including being minister of music and men’s president.
He has also held leadership roles in the choir, and Couples and Youth ministries, and has served as chairman of the Executive Board for nearly two years.
In 2009, Pastor Joseph said he attended the Hebron Bible Institute, where he graduated and received the following certificates and diplomas: General Bible 1 & 2; Advance Theology; Bachelor of Theology; Master’s in Theology; and, on Jun. 7, 2013, he graduated with a PhD in Theology.
In 2007, Pastor Joseph said he was ordained a deacon; and, on Jan.10, 2010, he was elevated to elder, an office he held until God called him to the pastorship of Crown Heights Gospel Church, Inc. in February 2012. He currently serves as senior pastor.
Pastor Joseph said he is “an avid learner” and has traveled the world to places such as Italy and Greece to advance his knowledge of the scriptures.
Along with his personal advancements, he said he continues to give back in missionary work — both internationally and locally.
He said his missionary work, including medical and humanitarian relief, takes him to his native Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Dominica.
Pastor Joseph has been married to Debra Joseph since 1991. They have three daughters: Dana, Cristal and Carlena.
In bringing the keynote address, the Rev. Narcisse Phillips, the Jamaican-born pastor of Bethany United Methodist Church in Crown Heights, asked: “How are you in these turbulent and uncertain times?
“Jesus tells us how we ought to live in these turbulent times,” she said. “Paul tells us, whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner that you ought to.
“Jesus told us, ‘You are the salt of the earth’,” she added. “Let your light so shine before us, so they may see your goodness. Our charge is to love. There’s no greater light but the light of love. So, let us be the light of the world.”
The ceremony also featured two Jamaican gospel artistes, Bishop McInnis and Croswell Dailey, who rocked the house with, among other hits, “This is My Savior,” What a Wonderful Savior” and “Further Along.”
Dr. Jamar Williams – a Vincentian American physician, who will be among at least five doctors and nurses heading this week with SMCI for another humanitarian mission – said, via Zoom video, from his job at Wycoff Hospital in Brooklyn: “We will be brining technology to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We’ll be teaching how to use technology in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said. “We’re really doing a big intervention.”
Over the years, SMCI has been shipping and distributing medical, school, clothing, food and other supplies to nationals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Pastor McBarnett lauded Ruby Wood, owner and manager of Square Deal Shippers and Movers in Brooklyn, for assisting with the shipping of these items from the very inception.
Patrons contributed $1,095.00, during the gala affair, towards the purchase of EKG machines for clinics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.