Born in the Caribbean island of St Kitts in the late 1940s who would have known that 'shy John Morris' as he was known locally would have become an Adventist Pastor.
The Morris/Phillip family consisted of eight boys and two girls and James helped his father farm acres of land in Molyneux, attended school during the week and was an altar boy for the Catholic church.
In his teens he went to live with an influential cousin in St Croix who introduced him to Adventism. Attracted to the word of God he relinquished his former beliefs in Catholicism.
After his conversion, he moved from St Croix to University of the Southern Caribbean formerly Caribbean Union College (CUC) in Trinidad, West Indies. He worked in a bakery, travelled across the Caribbean region selling literature to pay for his ministerial studies.
As a student at CUC, he forged lifetime friendships that included meeting his wife-to-be Anne Pilgrim, a Mathematics teacher. Completing his studies in 1973, he got married and began his ministry in that year as the Youth, Health and Temperance Director of the Eastern Caribbean Conference in St Lucia. In his first term of office his eldest daughter Shanda was born. Moving from there to Barbados for his second term of office, his second daughter Anna-lee was born.
As Director he was required to travel across the Eastern Caribbean islands and could speak conversational French patois. He also believed in and applied a mentorship model for young people paired with experienced individuals. His message to everyone was to have a limitless view of living as found in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me."
He then returned to CUC as Dean of Men in the 80s where those at Cedar Hall Dorm aka Spartans formed great memories under their beloved 'Round One'. He was a prolific table tennis player, dominoes and basketball player. He taught 'Christian beliefs', the first course all students had to complete.
In 1986, accepting a call to minister in South East London, James and family relocated to the United Kingdom.
He pastored churches in Downham, Sydenham Mottingham, Eltham, Lewisham, Balham, Brixton and became an Area Co-ordinator. While there were opportunities for him to hold office roles at conference level he purposed in his heart to be a pastor at a local level.
He is well remembered for trailblazing renovations and improvements to church buildings and services which can still be seen at Balham, Lewisham and Brixton.
In 2014, he received a Stewardship Leader of the Year award and for his family this reflected his mental mathematical computations that were faster than typing into a calculator!
He officially retired from ministry in 2015 but not in his heart and ways. He was Bishop, Father, Dean, Gardener, Tent builder, Mentor, Cook (Juice and salt-fish pattie) extraordinare, carpenter, driver, comedian, no nonsense, disliked church politics preferring to be a friend to all mankind.
After 47 years of service and marriage James has left a legacy of love, growth and service wherever you are and poured this into the lives of many.
Sadly, Pastor Phillip passed away peacefully in hospital as a result of chronic illness *without* Covid-19 related complications on Thursday 4 March 2021.
He will be truly missed and sleeps now waiting our Lord's return who is "true and faithful".
Funeral details will be shared at a later time.