Bishop J. Carl Rahming is retiring as head pastor of historic St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Bernard Road, Fox Hill, after more than four decades of dedicated service. Members of the 153-year-old church invite the public to join in honoring Bishop Rahming at a special Thanksgiving Gala Banquet to be held at Superclubs Breezes on Friday, November 24, 2023, at 7:00 pm followed by a celebratory Church Service at St. Paul’s in Fox Hill on Sunday, December 3 at 3:30 pm. An unforgettable weekend is planned for Bishop Rahming, who is a beloved husband, father, mentor, and spiritual leader in the Fox Hill community and The Bahamas. He is being honored under the theme: “Celebrating a Faithful Servant of God – the Man, the Mission, the Ministry”.
The elders in Fox Hill saw the hand of God at work in Rahming’s life ever since he was a little boy. He would show and express Bible wisdom amongst his peers, even when climbing dilly trees or playing marbles in the street. By the age of 15, Rahming had already delivered his first sermon at St. Paul’s, taking his Bible text from John 3:16. As a young man, he would even share the Gospel at the Dilly Tree, which was his pulpit.
The late Rev. Dr. H.W. Brown and Rev. Leroy Henry Roker ordained Rahming as a Deacon of St. Paul’s at the Bethel Baptist Convocation, in 1964. He enjoyed his service as Deacon of his beloved home church, but Rev. Roker bestowed a greater mantle on him. He asked Rev. Rahming to take up the role of Pastor of the Progressive Baptist Church, Brougham Street. Rev Rahming is credited for growing the church membership and creating thriving outreach programs in the 12 years he served there.
Rev. Leroy Henry Roker passed away on December 31, 1981, after which, Rahming was called back home to St. Paul’s. On February 6, 1983, Rev. Dr. J. Carl Rahming was officially installed as head pastor of St. Paul’s. This would be the first time in church history that their leader was not of the Roker family.
St. Paul’s first Pastor was Rev. Khoma Roker, the first of four generations to lead the church. He was succeeded by his son, Rev. Johnny Roker, who was succeeded by his son Rev. Levi Roker. The baton was given to his brother, Rev. Elisha Roker. His son, Rev. Leroy Henry Roker took over the church after his father’s death and was made pastor on July 10th, 1950. During his tenure as Pastor, Rev. Roker renovated the small edifice to accommodate the growing congregation. He was married to Sister Lenora Roker. The union did not produce any children, but they treated all the children of St. Paul’s as their own. Rev. Roker and Sis. Roker was instrumental in sending many young boys and girls to Whale Cay Camp, where their lives were shaped and molded to be responsible and industrious citizens of the Fox Hill Community. Rev. Roker’s death led to Rev. Rahming’s installation, signaling a new era for St. Paul’s.
Through the years, Rev Rahming’s reverence for God and his riveting messages resulted in a growing membership, and he expanded the church building once again. He is affectionately called “the mayor” of Fox Hill because of his dedication to assisting not only church members but anyone in the Fox Hill community who came to his office for help. He is the author of the book ‘” When Jesus Is Your Attorney.” Additionally, Bishop Rahming, has conducted countless weddings, baby christenings, baptisms, and funerals, standing side-by-side with Fox Hillians through the most important times of their lives.
Bishop Rahming gained recognition as a well-versed, articulate, dynamic, humble, compassionate, and well-loved church leader. He was sought after as a guest preacher throughout the Bahamas and the world, especially in the USA and the Caribbean, where he gained popularity at affiliated Baptist churches in Atlanta, Georgia, and Detroit, Michigan. This past August, new Deacons were licensed, and Ministers ordained to serve the growing flock as Bishop Rahming retires.
Bishop Rahming has spent 41 years as the Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, totaling 53 years in Gospel Ministry. He is lovingly supported by his wife of 61 years, Minister Evangelyn Rahming, and their children, Senator Reuben Rahming, Lolita Michelle, Kimberley, Carla, Carl; Anton (deceased), and Ricardo. In addition, to the spiritual support he receives from other members of the cloth, Bishop Rahming is encouraged by Mr. Raleigh Butler, to whom he taught mortuary science; Basil Butler; Paul McSweeney; Pauline Allen-Dean, Marie Cooper, his former co-worker at Bank of The Bahamas, where he worked for 18 years; and Sir Cyril Fountain.
St. Paul’s history dates back to the 1800s when Pastor J.A. Noblin was the Pastor of Mount Carey Baptist Church, Fox Hill. This church had undergone many structural changes and was the place to worship for many historical Foxhillian families. Mt. Carey was called Zion Chapel and so were all the other churches that were connected to Zion.
In the Year 1869, a dispute arose between Rev. John Davet, who was a missionary in the Bahamas since 1856, and Bethel Capel. This dispute resulted in Bethel and Zion taking different paths and causing a division among the congregation at Mt. Carey Baptist Church. Those who left Mt. Carey organized St. Paul’s Baptist Church, in 1870, and became a branch of the Bethel Baptist Convocation.
The split between the two churches is said to have been caused by trouble between the Congoes and the Yoruba tribes of Fox Hill. The Congoes were said to have been among the last shipment of captured Africans brought to New Providence on 28th July, 1860. They settled in the Congo Town, Fox Hill, but were said to have been taking too long to learn to speak the English language. The Yourbas stayed at Mt. Carey and many of the Congoes went to St. Paul’s – so tradition says.
St Paul’s is also known as the church with a rich heritage of outstanding families such as the Burnsides Sweetings, Dorsett’s, Rahmings, Fergusons, Rokers, Davis, and Adderley’s. From these families came the Knowles, Rodgers, Glinton’s, Gaitor’s, Brice’s, the Lundy’s, and many other families. St. Paul’s motto is “The Church Where Everybody is Somebody” and it is proved through the myriad of church events and community outreach initiatives designed for all ages.
Source: Felicity Darville
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