I don't know for some reason many people do not think of Jamaica as a country with a vast amount of churches. However, they could not be further from the truth. During colonial times in the Caribbean, religion was primarily an activity for the European colonists, not for the slaves.
Slave marriages were not permitted, and family life was discouraged, because it might have complicated the owners’ freedom to sell the slaves and created a unity among the slaves, which the planters could not easily disband. By the late Eighteenth Century, the supremacy of the Anglican Church was challenged with the arrival of the Non-Conformist missionaries.
The Moravians were the first Christian missionaries to come to Jamaica. The Wesleyan Methodists arrived in 1789, and the Presbyterians in 1824. Through the efforts of the black American ex-slaves, the Baptist religion was introduced in Jamaica. The first British Baptist missionary came to Jamaica from England in 1814. The Baptists, like the other Non-Conformist missionaries were extremely unpopular with the establishment, because of their stand against slavery. The Baptists soon became the most popular religious group in Jamaica gaining large numbers of converts among the slaves and free black population.
church in Saint James Parish
In the post-emancipation period the Baptists were most outstanding in the establishment of Free Villages for the ex-slaves and they were pioneers in education. These older Churches serve an invaluable purpose in helping us to chart the social and spiritual development of our ancestors.