“Needs are what we try to address…we don’t measure success by quantity, but the impact on persons’ lives.” ~ Reverend C. B. Moss
Reverend C. B. Moss
By Hadassah Deleveaux (née Hall)
For 32 years, Mt. Olive Baptist Church has been situated in the heart of Bain Town. Sitting on the corner of Meadow and Augusta Streets, the small white church has served as a beacon of hope for many within the community.
Mt Olive Baptist Church, Meadow and Augusta Streets
Led by Reverend C. B. Moss, the church’s Social Outreach Ministry provides food to approximately 130 people per week. Whether they are the elderly, jobless or simply in the need of a meal, they are not turned away. In fact, volunteers have recently been walking to nearby homes in an effort to keep the feeding program buoyant because for the past two months the vehicle used is no longer working.
“Needs are what we try to address…we don’t measure success by quantity, but the impact on persons’ lives,” said the community activist, who added that they also distribute clothes and shoes from a building behind the church, located on Augusta Street.
Mt. Olive’s Social Outreach Ministries
Reverend Moss has a strong sense of commitment to the people of Bain and Grants Town. In fact, although he was born in Acklins, he grew up through Young Street, Grants Town since the age of three.
“I moved out, but I didn’t really move out,” said Reverend Moss, who is President of the Bain Grants Town Advancement Association that was established in 1991. He is also a former Progressive Liberal Party Senator.
During our conversation in his modest office with achievements that dot the wall, I initially referred to the area as over the hill; however, Reverend Moss hastily stated that he does not use that term.
“That term is degrading. It is negative. It is not a complimentary term. You can try to write as many positive things possible, but it has to be a mindset change,” he emphasized.
Reverend Moss went down history lane, noting that Grants Town was developed in 1825 specifically for slaves, with Bain Town following some 25 years later.
“The white community no longer wanted them on their premises or their farms.
“Psychologically, it meant putting them in an inferior position. That’s why even people who grew up over the hill, as soon as they can, they try to move out. They too believe there is a stigma. They are constantly leaving,” he stated.
Reverend Moss pointed to over the hill becoming known beyond its geographical area. I agree, because according to history, the area is bordered by Delancy Street in the north, Nassau Street in the west, Wulff Road in the south and Collins Avenue in the east. I did not grow up within those perimeters, but have long figured I grew up over the hill. Reverend Moss explained.
“It has become about the economic, cultural and social factors, which prove the point that it is a perception. For me, I would retire the name over the hill,” he stated.
In the interim, while some refer to the area as over the hill and others call it the inner city, what is certain is it is a heritage community which has deep roots in the cultural, historic and political shaping of our people. Out of its belly have come our nation’s leaders who played pivotal roles in change from oppressive.
The question is: Though we be better off in many respects, how are we less better off to some degree?
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