A Dream Being Fulfilled

After a long period of planning and fund-raising, the dream of a new Central
Baptist Church Christian School by Pastor Cecil Richardson, is being
fulfilled with construction work having started on Monday this week.

The construction site, on six acres of land, is tucked away in the far north
of what will be in time a major education and sports complex involving
Government and the private sector, located off The Quarter main road into
the Cauls Pond Section. The entire area, purchased from leading businessman,
Albert A. R. Lake, opens up with the Teacher Gloria Omolulu Institute, now
nearing completion. Past there is the 17.5 acres lot which was bought by the
Anguilla Government to accommodate an athletic track and other sporting
facilities. Adjoining there is an area of land where the Arijah Foundation
plans to build a Special Needs School and the Central Baptist Church brings
up the rear with its elaborate school site.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Central Christian School was held on
Sunday afternoon, October 11. Chairman of the seven-member Board, Pastor
Cecil Richardson, said the school was established in September 2000 to
provide high quality training in a wholesome environment. It started with a
roll of 20 in the pre-school section and by adding a grade each year it
eventully became a full-fledged primary school. “Our present enrollment is
166,” he went on. “We are all cramped into the small facilities at the
Church [at Rey Hill]. We have a long waiting list of people who wish to get
their children in, but it is virtually impossible as space is a problem.”

Pastor Cecil said the decision was taken to build the school in the new area
as there was no building space at Rey Hill. The deal was already finalised
to purchase the land next to the Omolulu Institute when agreement was
reached, following an approach by Minister of Social Development, Evans
Rogers, to exchange the Church land to allow the Government to buy 17.5
acres for a proposed athletic track. As a result, the Church undertook to
move to the present site farther to the north.

The Pastor stated that the Church took a loan from the Caribbean Commercial
Bank to purchase the six acres in order for the school to have its own
sporting facilities, but had decided against that facility as the
Government’s sports complex would be available. He was grateful to the
members of the Church for assisting in raising funds and also thanked other
persons, mainly Janine Edwards, for working with the golf tournament which
was a good source of fund-raising for the school. He also acknowledged
contributions from a number of business places, friends and well-wishers.

“We do not have all the money we need, but we believe it is an act of faith
to build.If you don’t start, you won’t finish,” Pastor Richardson reasoned,
referring to the traditional way of building in Anguilla. “To tell you the
honest truth, I cannot say where the money is going to come from, but I know
it will come and God will provide it.” He could not reveal how much the
project would cost. “Right now we are working on the classrooms and not the
administrative sections,” he added. “Once we get those established, we know
we can get the rest done. We cannot give you a date of completion because,
as I said, we are building by faith. We have much to be thankful for. We
started with nothing but a vision, a dream; and here we are today, it is
coming to past.”

The Church is fortunate to have in its membership a number of qualified
architects and builders whose involvement in the project greatly lessens the
cost of construction. The Architect is Vanburn Brooks, who grew up in the
Church and is a Principal of Morlems Architectural Services. He said the
school was designed in two phases with a total area of 27,000 square feet.
One phase will be a primary school and the other a high school. There will
be three floors with full cafeteria, handicapped accessibility, music room,
library, an auditorium of over 300 seats and an administration section.

“It all will be in blocks and very comprehensive – the classroom,
administration and auxiliary sections, the laboratories, library, bookstore
and music room,” he explained. “It will be constructed through a combination
of reinforced concrete, masonry brick walls, steel frames and a whole lot of
prayer.” The school will be self-contained, closed in as much as possible
and fully air-conditioned to facilitate student learning, protection and

Mr. Brooks said full planning permission was already obtained and the
general Contractor, Cephas Webster, was “rearing to go.” Mr. Webster, a
long-time leader in the Church, is a certified builder, who has worked on a
number of high-quality construction projects and other buildings in
Anguilla. Mr. Brooks was delighted to report that a number of young
professionals and others had joined in assisting him with his architectural
work and spent several days with him on the bushy building site. “There is a
lot of talent in the Central Baptist Church,” he concluded. “We are project
managers, music majors, lawyers.We are going to build our school and are
looking forward to your advice. It is a huge cost, but we are going to do
the work by faith and with your help.”

Minister of Social Development, Evans Rogers, commended Pastor Richardson,
his congregation, various groups and private sponsors, for assisting in
getting the project at its ground-breaking stage and towards its completion
later on, for the sake of the Anguillian children.

He was pleased that the entire area would eventually serve as an education
and sports complex. He said that the International Amateur Athletic
Federation had indicated to him that some funding might be available to
finance an athletic track on the island. He saw this as a noble idea,
considering that a number of young Anguillians had made very good progress
world-wide and that there was a need for Government to undertake to build an
athletic track on the island to further develop athletics.

The Minister was happy that Pastor Richardson had agreed to the exchange of
land for an athletic track, sporting complex, aquatic centre and other
facilities. “We thought that we were killing two or three birds with one
stone because you would be able to use that sporting complex rather than
building one for yourself,” he told the Pastor and his congregation. He
expressed much support for the planned next-door Arijah Special Needs School
for which land had also been obtained from Mr. Albert Lake.

“Pastor Cecil is also a member of that Board as well,” Mr. Rogers continued.
“It all fits in well. We will have the Teacher Gloria Omolulu School, a
School for Special Needs, Central Christian School and we will have the
sporting complex.”

The Minister said Anguilla was faced with financial challenges, but with
faith the Central Christian School in particular, and other institutions
throughout Anguilla, would be built brick by brick with the cooperation of
everyone. He pledged the Government’s support for private projects of this
nature that would help the overall development of Anguilla. “We all have to
get together, whether public or private, to support the development of
Anguilla and there is no greater investment than that in our young people,”
Mr. Rogers added.

The ground-breaking ceremony was ably chaired by Mrs. Janine Edwards, a
noted fund-raiser and mother of children attending the school. “I think this
approach to a more wholistic education – with music, Sports, academics and
so on – is the way forward in this new global economy,” she commented. “We
are happy that we have the modern approach by Mr. Brooks to facilitate all
these concepts into building a strong educational facility for our

Others who participated in the ceremony were Marlon Lake, Youth Director,
who gave the welcome; Pastor Norril Gumbs of First Baptist Church who
delivered the opening prayer; Ross Guishard, who read the Scripture and a
group of students as well as Gordon and Marvin Hazell who sang. The Vote of
Thanks was by Andrew Blake, Principal of the school and the closing prayer
was by Deacon David Christmas.

Donations in cash and kind would be most welcome to assist with the Central Christian School Building Fund.  If you wish to learn more about how you can help contact

Article and photos: Courtesy, The Anguillian Newspaper

Ground breaking of Central Christian School

Ground breaking of Central Christian School

Minister Mc Neil Rogers and Pastor in front row

Minister Mc Neil Rogers and Pastor in front row

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