9 September 2018 | The president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica has spoken of the importance of not getting distracted from mission after the highly publicized suspected suicide of an Adventist deacon who was suspected of a recent murder.

Linton Stephenson (also known as Gary Stephenson), a 59-year-old deacon at the Jamaica-based Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church, was found dead last week after being named by law enforcement as a “person of interest” in a murder. Stephenson was linked to the murder of 25-year-old Khyhymn Campbell whose body was found in a cooler box in a car on the country’s Winston Jones Highway recently.

“We must not shrink back … because some of our leaders and members have failed God and the Church. The Church today is not perfect, but one day, the Church militant will become the spotless bride of Christ,” said Brown speaking this weekend at the SDA North East Jamaica at the Port Maria Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Mary, Jamaica.

“Let us not allow our failures in the past or the unwarranted criticism being levied at the Church sidetrack us and cause us to lose our focus and dilute our message and thwart the mission,” he added without directly addressing Stephenson.

Law enforcement reported that Campbell’s body was nude and had what appeared to be cuts to both the neck and face. The victim’s throat had been slashed.

Stephenson had been on parole after serving time for killing his wife. He was also wanted for assault and illegal possession of a firearm. His body was found in a house just outside Mandeville in south-central Jamaica.

According to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination’s Office of Archives Statistics and Research, there are 304,021 members and 683 churches in Jamaica.

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