It was almost 50 years ago that Church of God Bishop George N. Best, a native of Grenada and longtime resident of St. Thomas, first decided to enter the Christian ministry.
Next weekend friends, family and parishioners will gather to celebrate his 70th birthday and a life dedicated to his faith.
The Agape Church of God on St. Thomas will host an evening of music, dinner, and liturgical dancing at 7 p.m. March 5 at the American Legion Hall in Sub Base.
“It’s a time of reflection and a time of celebration for turning 70,” said Grace Best, the bishop’s daughter and also the program director for the church.
The Agape Church of God has about 100 members, she said. The bishop is shepherd to all of them and “he’s also the district overseer for St. Thomas.” There are two other Church of God congregations on St. Thomas: Mount Zion Church of God and the Healing Center Church of God. As overseer, he has responsibility for meetings, conferences and special services.
There are also two Church of God congregations on St. Croix and one on St. Thomas, Best said, and a religious overseer for the territory.
“Agape” is a word often incorporated in the names of Christian churches. It comes from a Greek word sometimes translated as “love” and generally is used to signify a spiritual rather than a physical form of love; for some, it represents the highest form of love, God’s love for humanity, and/or the love of Christians for their creator and for their fellows.
It was that type of love that inspired her father to enter religious life; Best said, “He started ministry at (age) 21.” He served first in Grenada and then in 1969 he moved to Tortola.
He started the Church of God in that British Virgin Island, Best said, and ministered there until he moved to St. Thomas in 1989.
Grace Best said the bishop still visits Tortola periodically and keeps in touch with his former congregants there. He also visits family back in Grenada.
“We try to do it about every two years,” she said.
The Agape Family Church of God has invited friends and members of the church on Tortola to the bishop’s birthday celebrations, Best said. The congregation is also inviting members of other churches in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ticket and other information are available by calling Best at 340-998-0566 or 340-344-9928.