Martin Luther Rodney was born 3rd June 1934 in Green Island, Hanover, Jamaica.
He was the eldest of 7 children born to Edward Charles Rodney and Ethlyn Lenora Johnson-Rodney. Martin Luther Rodney was named by his mother, who was anxious for him to be like the great protestant reformer.
True to his name Martin Luther was a leader and stood out as such to his many friends and within his family from a young age. Highly principled, commanding great respect and truly loved by all, Martin Luther was known as ‘Luther, Bro Luther, Uncle Luther.
Martin Luther attended Cave Valley school in Marchtown, Hanover. Although naturally bright, from an early age his schooling was challenged. Martin Luther needed to assist his parents on the family homestead in Archwell, and help support the family. He gave accounts of childhood exploits selling from his donkey, riding his father’s horses and his bicycle as a fearless daredevil – with his younger brother Cebert on the handle bars.
He spoke of an exciting childhood and memorable times with his father Edward Rodney, a cane farmer and brothers Lionel (deceased) and Charles. They were a crew to be reckoned with locally and also later, when travelling to work.
Martin Luther was a Carpenter whose Seventh day Adventist mother attended the Cauldwell Church. Aged 20 and reading the bible in competition with a friend, the Crucifixion Story in Luke 23 converted Martin Luther to the advent message. Martin Luther fell in love with the Church and his wife Iona Hyacinth Campbell. Martin Luther was baptised into the Adventist faith and married Iona Rodney in the Cauldwell Church on October 25th 1955. From then on both in Jamaica and the UK Martin Luther diligently kept the sabbath.
Martin Luther sailed to England for work just a few months later, almost not making it, as the ship caught fire mid Atlantic. Many young men revelled on the ship while Martin Luther studied the bible and prayed in his bunk. Those who mocked at first turned to him for prayer as the fire raged. The crew successfully put the fire out. Iona remained in Jamaica living with and at the home of Edward and Ethlyn Rodney.
In 1956, Iona Rodney joined Martin Luther in the UK; 65 years of marriage produced 7 children, 12 grand, and 3 great grandchildren.
Martin Luther was an evangelist, with a dream was that everyone should hear of God’s plan of salvation. He was a people person, a bible teacher, colporteur and church planter. With his distinctive side parting, customary suit and tie, Martin Luther served as an elder, finally retiring as site manager at the John Loughborough School, an institution he was pivotal in helping to establish.
Martin Luther played a wider and very prominent role in helping the UK adventist movement diversify, serving as the fulcrum for the General Conference discussions with the British Union of Seventh Day Adventists, in the 70’s and 80’s. Martin Luther Rodney went on to be first layperson to be elected as Chairman of the London Area Advisory Council (LAAC).
Since his 1999 retirement, Martin Luther divided his time between Jamaica and the UK.
In July 2017, Martin Luther suffered a stroke, losing left side functionality. His wife, children, family and friends attended to most of his care at home, augmenting the provisions of the local authority. Martin Luther made his final trip nine week visit to Jamaica in 2018, along with his wife and children.
Martin Luther is mourned and survived by his wife Iona, 7 Children Christine, Pauline, Sharon, Sandra, Jacynth, Timothy and Mark. – 12 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Also surviving are 7 siblings Charles Rodney, Clifford Rodney, Gerzel Arthurs, Eunice Rodney Archer, Hyacinth Rodney, Anita Arnold, Cebert Rodney, many nieces, nephews and friends around the world.
The Chingford Church, where Martin Luther last served as elder, is particularly saddened.
The life of Martin Luther Rodney truly delivered his mother’s wish.
Gone but not forgotten; a UK adventist pioneer, a husband, father, uncle, cousin and friend , by name, by service and by impact - Martin Luther Rodney.
Martin Luther Rodney now sleeps, awaiting the return of our God.