The young men drowned at sea just before the new year.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is mourning the loss of four of its young members after they drowned at sea.
Chavar Lewis, 31, and Duran Bryan, 30, of the church’s north region, and Joseph Anderson, 26, and Karanjah Gayle, 26, of the central region, died at sea in two separate incidents one day apart.
According to police reports, Lewis and Bryan of the St. Ann’s Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church died on December 30, 2018, at the Silver Sands beach in Duncans, Trelawny, after both got into difficulty at sea. They were attending a birthday celebration for a member of their congregation. The bodies were recovered soon after.
News of their deaths plunged thousands into mourning, church leaders said, as both young men were active members of the St. Ann’s Bay congregation and the St. Ann Adventist Youth Federation in North Jamaica Conference (NJC), serving in the areas of Pathfinders and music, among other ministries.
While the church in Jamaica grappled with their loss, news came that two other young men, Gayle and Anderson, went missing while swimming at the Frenchman’s Bay beach in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, on December 31, 2018.
Both Gayle and Anderson were members of the Beverley Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester and students at Northern Caribbean University (NCU). Anderson was also a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). Gayle was studying communication, while Anderson was studying computer information science.
According to police, Anderson’s body was recovered at sea a day after the incident, while Gayle’s body was spotted by the Jamaica Coast Guard meters away from where Anderson’s body was recovered. However, divers were unable to recover Gayle’s body due to “threats posed by sharks.”