News

Rev Al Miller in rare moment misses church

BY INGRID BROWN Observer senior reporter browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 23, 2010    

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REV Al Miller rarely misses the Tuesday night meeting of his congregation. But last night he was absent following the announcement that he was wanted by the police for questioning after members of the security forces intercepted the car he was driving in the company of fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke aboard.

But not even the possibility that their spiritual leader might be arrested could dampen the praise from the scores of faithful members who showed up to offer prayer and praise for their beloved pastor.

Dubbed as a nation builder, Miller has often come under flak for his controversial statements and actions, but nothing seemed to surpass yesterday's episode in which the firebrand pastor was found in the company of Jamaica's most wanted man.

Launching into choruses that reflect the greatness of God, the congregation offered up prayers of protection and comfort for Miller and his family.

A message delivered to the congregation from Miller, via his nephew Jerrold Johnson, urged members not to "worry or fret" about the current situation.

"There is the possibility that he could be arrested and pastor wants you to know this," Johnson told the congregation.

But according to Johnson, no one could have orchestrated yesterday's happening the way God had.

"From a personal standpoint you might not have agreed with what he did but you will have to work through your convictions," he told the congregation.

He reminded them that they must be prepared to hear various comments about their pastor when they return to work today, but urged them not to be disheartened as God is working things out.

Elder Fitzroy Lewis urged the congregation to hold fast to the scriptures, despite the many questions they may have.

"God shows us the plan of the enemy, but he is about to confuse what the enemy is trying to do," he said.

He added that this is a wonderful time to give God thanks despite the turbulence, as the church broke out into much jubilation.

But although many engaged in praise, the anxious looks on the faces of other congregants could not be hidden.

"We won't allow the enemy to distract us from giving thanks in all things," Lewis encouraged them.

But Miller, up until Observer press time last night, had not turned himself over to the police for questioning.

Earlier in the day, Miller told the Observer that Coke was on his way to voluntarily give himself up to the United States officials.

"He was willing to commit to due process and prepare to waive his extradition rights and go with the process straight to the United States," Miller told the Observer.

He explained that he agreed to take Coke to United States officials at the US Embassy after he made contact with him earlier in the day.

And that was just what he was doing when the vehicle he was driving was intercepted by the police Along the Mandela Highway which connects St Catherine and the capital city of Kingston. Coke was taken into custody and the police informed Miller that he was free to go.

But less than two hours later, the police issued an advisory for Miller to turn himself in even as police commissioner Owen Ellington questioned why he was allowed to leave the scene in the first place.

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