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(JAMAICA STAR) – The praise and worship session at the St Paul’s United Church in Montego Bay, St James, came to an abrupt end on Sunday morning when one of the veteran church members collapsed and died.
At about 10 a.m. Alston Wallace, the church’s popular caretaker/musician, had just completed a segment of praise and worship and was speaking in tongues when he collapsed.
It is believed that Wallace died of a heart attack.
One member of the church’s congregation told THE STAR that several persons ran to Wallace’s assistance and tried to revive him, including Wallace’s wife, who is a nurse.
Another member said that Wallace collapsed after Reverend Tara Campbell announced that she felt the presence of death within the walls of the church.
She stopped the praise and worship session and did an altar call.
“Most of the church went to the altar because the pastor kept calling the congregation to come up,” the member told THE STAR. “She kept saying the spirit of death is here. Wallace, who was an elder, also prayed with persons. He went to the altar and stood by my cousin. He was the last to leave the altar.”
It is reported that during the altar call, Wallace prayed and kept saying the words, “Thank you, Jesus”.
He went back to his seat, sat down and said aloud with his hands in the air “Thank you, Jesus”, when his head went backward.
“It wasn’t until he was nudged a few minutes after that his head fell down. That’s when everyone realised something was wrong,” said one member.
Wallace was reportedly taken to hospital by members of the congregation.
The mood of the service was further dampened when news filtered back to the church that Wallace had died.
When THE STAR went to the church yesterday, Campbell said that the church did not wish to comment as they were in mourning.
“We don’t want to talk to the media, the church is going through a sad period and we are in mourning,” the pastor said. “Maybe we will be ready to talk in about a week.”
THE STAR was told that Wallace was a long-serving caretaker, who also served as a guitar player, guidance counsellor, and a father figure.
Dean Cawley, president of Maxi Tours, where Wallace worked for a time, described his death as a great loss.
“He had a quiet disposition, was hardworking, responsible, and ambitious,” said Cawley