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REVEREND RAYMOND G. COKE, CD, JP: A Pillar of Faith and Devotion

In 1961, a pivotal moment in the history of the Presbyterian Church of Jamaica unfolded as Raymond George Coke was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. Today, Reverend Coke, CD, JP, is admired as a religious leader whose ministry has been marked by unwavering commitment to God and tireless service to both the church and the broader ecumenical community.


The longevity of Reverend Coke’s service reflects the divine grace that has sustained his mission. To many from Meadowbrook United Church in St. Andrew, Jamaica, where he pastored prior to retirement, “Reverend Coke” evokes endearing affection and deep respect. He officiated weddings, christened children, and offered solace at funerals, becoming an integral part of numerous lives.


As a child, I admired Reverend Coke, and as an adult, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing his dedication firsthand. Throughout the years, he has consistently demonstrated qualities of patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, peace, love, joy, and goodness.


VBD Magazine is honored to celebrate the extraordinary journey of Reverend Coke, who has led with excellence for over six decades, changing lives and declaring the sovereignty of God. His life and work reflect the virtues of faith, resilience, and compassion, exemplifying the positive impact one individual can have in shaping communities and inspiring generations.



Born in Manchester, Jamaica, Reverend Coke’s journey from humble beginnings to influential leadership spans decades and countries. He received his early education at Spalding and Franklyn Town Primary Schools, later attending Buxton High School, the Preceptor’s Institute, and the West Hill College of Education in Birmingham, England.

Reverend Coke sensed the call to ministry in 1954. After discussing it with his minister, Reverend Douglas Miller, he was awarded a scholarship for pre-seminary preparation in 1955. He studied at the Union Theological Seminary (now the United Theological College of the West Indies), but his true lessons were learned in the field of full-time ministry.


Despite his love for ministry, Reverend Coke understands the importance of time management and organization to balance personal, family, and ministry demands and prevent burnout. The ministry often requires being on call 24/7, 365 days a year, so he ensures he takes time to rest and spend quality moments with his family.


Reverend Coke and his wife Ruth have been married for 62 years. Their beloved union has blessed them with two daughters, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His advice for a strong marriage centers on respect, care, and teamwork. “When challenges come on the journey, as they will, it is important to work through them together,” Reverend Coke shares. “It means open communication and sharing all responsibilities in the family. Love for each other and God is the binding force.”



Reverend Coke emphasizes that pastoral ministry is a divine calling. Once answered, there is no turning back. He quotes Jesus Christ in St. Luke 9:62 (KJV): “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Jesus did not promise the journey would be easy, and indeed, Reverend Coke’s ministry wasn’t without hurdles. Interpersonal dynamics often tested his patience and compassion. He recalls counseling an abusive husband who once threatened him during a session. Remarkably, that same man returned years later to apologize, and today, the couple is happily married. Encouraged by the tremendous blessings and joy when souls are saved and lives are transformed, Reverend Coke knows the journey is worthwhile.

This is why his heart aches for the shortage of human resources within the church to answer the call of ministry. He acknowledges that those who follow in his footsteps will face challenges, but he encourages new seminary graduates to remember, “With God all things are possible,” a mantra that has guided him throughout his ministry. To those who have answered the call, he offers sage advice:


1. Familiarize yourself with your community by conducting surveys to understand people’s needs. Develop a plan to address those needs effectively.

2.  Invest time in visitation to build meaningful relationships.

3.  Commit everything to the Lord, recognizing that no detail is too small or basic.



In 1960, Reverend Coke began his ministry at the Retirement Presbyterian Church (now United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI)) in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, overseeing four churches. In 1964, he moved to the West Bay Presbyterian Church in Grand Cayman (now UCJCI), where he served for six years. Upon returning to Jamaica in 1970, he ministered at North Street United Church, located in an inner-city area of Kingston, for eight and a half years. He was then called to serve at Meadowbrook United Church, where he spent 23 years before retiring.

Click and visit Rev. Raymond G. Coke on Facebook


Photo Credit: ShaunBattick Photography



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