MONTEGO BAY, St James – Canon Hartley Perrin, rector of the St Peter’s Anglican Church in Petersfield, Westmoreland, has interpreted the death of Kevin Smith, controversial spiritual leader of the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries, as a message being conveyed from God.
The flamboyant Smith was catapulted into national spotlight following the killing of two of his congregants during a ritual at his church on Sunday, October 17. Shortly after, a third person was shot and killed during an alleged confrontation with the police, who said they were fired upon as they approached the premises.
Then on Monday, Smith died in a three-vehicle crash on a section of the Linstead bypass in St Catherine as he was being transported by the police from Montego Bay to Kingston.
Police Constable Orlando Irons also died in the accident and two of his colleagues were seriously injured.
Smith was being held for questioning in connection with murder and illegal possession of firearm.
“God is saying something and the church now has to probe the mind of God to discover exactly what God is saying to us in this context because it is not coincidental that all of these things are happening. God is trying to tell us something but I think we continue to miss it. But it is not coincidental that something like this should happen. It is like one tragedy after the other. Something is being said,” summed up Perrin, who is also the custos of Westmoreland.
Perrin suggested that the fatal crash was not coincidental.
“I know those police have transported so many persons on numerous occasions and nothing like this has ever happened. You have to wonder why him, why now?” Perrin questioned.
But Bishop Oniel Russell, head of the Ark of the Covenant Holy Trinity Church in Savanna-la-Mar, who expressed shock at Smith’s death, appealed to church members to be careful about being overly judgemental of the fallen bishop.
“…The thing that bothers me is the reaction of Christians to his death. People who say they are of God and yet they are saying God killed him, God killed him. God did not kill him! God never killed him, demonic forces killed him,” Bishop Russell argued.
Russell was quick to point out that there are other church leaders with similar devious characteristics as Smith, who will be eventually exposed.
“There are other church leaders out there like him (Smith). So we have to understand that it won’t be the end. It won’t be the end; we will see others,” noted the head of the Ark of the Covenant Holy Trinity Church.
He also debunked the notion held in some circles that Smith is alive, adding that in the video which surfaced with Smith at a police station, the former head of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries appeared to be a troubled individual.
“And there are so many speculations from persons saying he is not dead. He’s dead, he is dead. And there is no coming back. He is dead. I think we need to understand to stop spreading rumours that his body was stolen,” said Russell.
Reverend Father James Saturday of the St Joseph Catholic Church in Falmouth underscored that the Church has an obligation to assist members of the clergy who are faced with personal struggles.
“God had entrusted him (Smith) with a ministry, supposedly; because he is a pastor. He had the trust of the people but now his actions did not reflect the ministry that God entrusted in him. And he betrayed the trust of the people. If a pastor struggles, the body of Christ, the church, has an obligation to that pastor with personal sins and struggles. The church needs to pray for him, and guide him and lead him,” Father Saturday argued.
Since the death of the two congregants at the church, allegedly at Smith’s behest, the police have searched three of his houses in swanky locations in Montego Bay.
“ I can’t accurately speak about what it is about but judging from other countries, what I hear and see, this is something tied up with glories, riches,” Saturday, a Ugandan native told the Observer West, referring to Smith’s lifestyle.
He contends that Smith’s actions only serve to repel people from the church.
“…And that [Smith’s actions] is terrible, that is not good,” the St Joseph Catholic clergyman said.
He was quick to express his regret at the passing of Constable Irons and the injury of his two colleagues.
“I regret the accident. I feel so sad about the death of the cop. I don’t know how the other two are doing [but] I am praying for them. My thoughts go out to their families. I also pray for the dead pastor because I am not the judge; God is the judge,” Father Saturday remarked.
Russell also expressed his sympathy for Smith.
“So when I heard the news of his death I was like wow. I felt something within my heart. I am not lying. I felt a bit of emotions within me because remember, he is a bishop [and] I am a bishop. Whatever was happening we didn’t know until last week. But, it really hurts me to know that he wasn’t taking the work of God according to how he should have taken it. And that left me in shock and emotion,” Russell said.