Wednesday 9th March, 2005


Standing tall - T&T’s first female Pentecostal bishop-elect awaits consecration

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Rev Kathy Ann Samaroo

‘I am a nobody telling everybody about somebody who can help everybody’

Rev Kathy Ann Samaroo

By Essiba Small

She is small in stature—standing at about five foot two in heels— but the aura of the Rev Kathy Ann Samaroo seems larger than life. Imposing, even.

“I get that all the time,” Samaroo confessed.

“And sometimes people judge me because of that. They think that I am not approachable.”

Walking into the lobby of the Crowne Plaza dressed in black and white—black jacket, white shirt and white pointy-tip pumps—Samaroo looks more like a make-up artist than an evangelist.

Her black short-cropped hair is slicked back, her sideburns curl at her cheekbones; her eyebrows are manicured and arched, her face powdered and lit by red lipstick.

With a firm handshake she introduces herself. Her voice contains a trace of an American accent, acquired from growing up in Maryland, USA. She lived there from infancy to her mid-20s.

The founder and president of the Maranatha Worship Centre, Samaroo will, on March 19, be consecrated as a bishop at the Faith Assembly Church, Arouca.

She will become the first female bishop in the local Pentecostal body and sees the elevation to the office as another phase in her ministerial duties.

“It is an evangelistic tool that will enable me to reach certain communities that recognise you if you hold certain positions.”

Personally, Samaroo says, she’s not big on titles.

“They don’t bother me,” she says, casually.

“I believe in hard work. Rolling up your sleeves and actually getting down to business.”

It was as a young woman in her 20s, returning to T&T, that Samaroo was called to evangelical service.

Back then she was one of the first female DJs with NBN’s hip and happening station RadiYo 98.9 FM and married to Christopher, a Christian.

The Samaroos embarked on a 40-day prayer and fast and, as she recalls, the experience was a supernatural one.

“I had an open vision of piles of human bodies and their flesh burning.

“In another vision I saw a mass of people, all bald, all starving—with their mouths open.”

The Lord instructed her then, she said, that it was time to leave the radio station and go and declare the gospel.

“I had to feed these people, clothe them and distribute Bibles to them.

“I was supposed to carry this out in far-away lands. But before that, the focus had to be here in my land.”

Arima, Mayaro, Princes Town, Toco and Tobago were among the first places Samaroo visited.

She would pray for the sick in churches, visit prisons and schools praying for and feeding those in need.

Back then, Samaroo said, she had no idea that the Lord was also preparing her for pastoring.

“I knew that this—working for the Lord—was my purpose for being here, but I didn’t foresee leadership.”

Her then pastor Selma Balosingh, of El Shadai Temple, Central Mission Foundation, based in central Trinidad, counselled her to pastor converts in Arima.

“There was all this sheep (saved people) and no one to tend to them.”

Samaroo learned to preach by observing Balosingh at Central Mission Foundation.

The Maranatha Ministry was born, 11 years ago, when it became evident that there was a need for a spiritual base in Arima.

Prayer sessions, conducted on Thursday evenings, moved to full Sunday service and later an extensive ministry.

Maranatha, mentioned in some books in the Bible, is a word in the Aramaic language which means “Come, o Lord!” or “The Lord comes.”

Aramaic was a Jewish language in the time of Jesus.

The growth of Maranatha was fast.

As Samaroo recalls, one thing led to another.

“Two people wanted to get married so we began marriage counselling. A baby was born and had to be offered up so we began dedicating babies. Then we started burying people.

“An infrastructure was implemented and many departments born—bible school, dance and drama ministries.”

All of a sudden Samaroo was everywhere—on the radio, pastoring to congregations in different full gospel churches across the country and on television with her own show.

It was while she was ministering in Holland that she caught the attention of J Paul Hackman. Hackman heads the Trans Atlantic and Pacific Alliance of Churches (TAPAC), based in London, England.

“He told me that God was raising me up to oversee an area much bigger than I was operating from and that, in order to do that, I must be elevated.”

Samaroo prayed about what Hackman said for two years and only found peace to accept the title bestowed on her this year.

“I am now bishop-elect. So I am under scrutiny by TAPAC until the consecration.”

Whenever she has down time Samaroo likes to kick back with her husband and co-pastor and their three children, 11-year-old twin boys and a 16-year-old girl. (Samaroo declined to give the names of her children and also didn’t want to comment on her age.)

“I love to put on blue jeans, T-shirt, hat turned backwards and just relax—at home, at church.”

“She loves to pray and worship too,” her husband chimed in.

“And shop for clothes at the malls.”

Samaroo makes no apologies.

“That’s who I am.”

And, with bishop status in view, she has no plans of being cocky.

“I am a nobody telling everybody about somebody who can help everybody.”





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