THE 1970s was filled with heightened tension and escalating crime and violence, mainly linked to inner-city communities.
Clashes between criminal gangs, and the sound of gunfire were regular occurrences that had many Jamaicans living in fear.
Crime was particularly rampant in innercity communities such as Waltham Park, a hotbed area where many dared not venture.
It would take massive efforts by the island's security forces to place a lid on the escalating crime.
But it was the work on the ground by the Church that made the difference.
VT Williams, noted clergyman who has been spreading the gospel from before Jamaica gained Independence, recently recalled that the Jamaica Evangelistic Association (JEA) was one of the first religious institutions to establish a place of worship in the area.
"It was a time when many were afraid to travel to areas such as Waltham Park," Williams, the 82-year-old senior bishop and founding member of JEA told the Jamaica Observer.
Williams said that crime was high, but with the support of his wife, he decided to establish what would become the headquarters of the JEA.
"With God as my support I was never afraid (to build the church in Waltham Park)," said Williams, who also hosts the radio programme Evangelistic Hour.
Associate local pastor for the JEA, Courtney Anderson said that since the church was established in the community, not only has it grown, but it has also become a second home for Jamaicans living in and around the area.
"Since the church was established it continues to grow. There are now a total of 16 branches established across the island," Anderson said.
Williams said that through his work at the various branches he has helped to mould hundreds of religious leaders across the country.
"Right now if an assessment should be carried out, you would be surprised to find that I played some sort of role in the development of several of the religious leaders across the country," Williams said.
The pastor said that in addition to spreading the message, the church has established several outreach programmes.
Church officials last week said that the outreach programmes are divided into several sectors.
The Visiting Committee Group visits those members who are no longer able to attend church and cater to their needs, and serve the Lord's Supper," Anderson said.
He said that the programme has been commended by a number of the persons who receive assistance.
"The recipients expressed their appreciation for the assistance given. It makes them happy to know that they are not forgotten," the pastor said.
The Fearon's Foundation, where members also help to provide the needy with warm meals, is another division of the church.
"The Fearon's Foundation also helps to provide the needy with medication and in other areas where necessary," one official of the church said.
The church members also distribute food packages with the aid of Food For the Poor.
The church also partners with other out-station churches in the Prison Ministry.
The Old Harbour Church is one of the institutions that has been assisting in this area. The church has been carrying out work at the Sunbeam Boys' Home and providing gifts and attention to children being housed at the location.
The outreach programme also provides assistance to church members who fall on hard times or who are in need during and after hurricanes and other disasters.
"We (church officials) have also assisted some of our members in rebuilding their houses which were damaged in the Central District during the passage of Hurricane Sandy," another church member told the Sunday Observer.
Church members also operate a kitchen and tuck shop, which provide meals to those in need.
Bishop Williams said that the church also operates its own Bible College that offers certificates and diplomas in theological and pastoral studies.
There is also the Higher Learning Institute that caters to church members with literacy and numeracy deficiencies.
Missionary Charmaine Tingling said that in recent years the programme has opened the doors to include CXC Mathematics and English Language.
"Members of the church who are qualified in this area volunteer their time to teach those who want to learn," the church official said.
VT Williams said that in addition to work in the classroom, all the members from the different branches are focused on winning souls for God as they try to fulfill the mission of the JEA, which is to evangelise, nurture, pray for the sick, disciple and equip the Brethren in Christ to a victorious life and to dominate their world.
Williams in his address at the 42nd Annual Convention recently, called for Christians to speak out on a number of issues affecting the country.
"When there is a fire in the country the fireman is called, when there is a disaster, relief workers are called; now Jamaica is in a crisis, church members should stand up," Williams said.
The event was held under the theme 'Cry Aloud, Spare not; lift up thy voice and warn the nation that the Lord is coming'.
As the JEA marked its 42nd Annual Convention, the organisation received commendations from leaders across the country.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who headed the list, said that after over 40 years of lifting up their voices, the JEA has not only strengthened its mission but it has expanded its presence and built its capacity to contribute to the people of Jamaica.
The PM said that this was timely as the country was in need of guidance and positive influences, which are available through the ministry of the church.
Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica also shared his thoughts.
"I join you Bishop VT Williams and the approximately 1000 Convention participants in giving thanks to God for empowering you to remain steadfast to the mission of the Jamaica Evangelistic Association," the Governor General was quoted as saying in a message to the church.