Revd Dr. Ronaldo Oliver Brown was born in Westmoreland, Jamaica on the 15 September 1936 and accepted Christ in 1955. After finishing school he immigrated to England in 1959 and became a member of the NTCG in 1962. He served as District Youth Director and in 1963 was appointed pastor of the Gloucester Church. He went on to pastor the Rugby, Walsall and Leicester churches as pastor then District Overseer.
Dr. Brown was an energetic and fiery preacher, a gentle giant, a man who loved gardening. This pastime was the catalyst for his evangelism fervour which motivated him; he wanted to see and experience growth, spiritual, numerical and financial.
In 1971, Dr. Brown was appointed Evangelism Director for the UK, and spearheaded the “Evangelism Explosion” Seminars across the UK. He served as Missionary Overseer of the Church in Ghana from 1983-1992. On returning to England he was appointed Pastor and District Overseer for Brixton Church. In 1994, he became the first National Overseer to be elected by the ministers in the UK. He held this office for eight years, until 2002 following which he was appointed Pastor/District Overseer of the Bilston Church & District – his last appointment in the UK.
Appointment to National Overseer
At Dr. Brown’s inauguration he gave an outstanding acceptance speech, on behalf of himself and Sister Phyllis Brown, he said: “Bearing in mind the sacredness of this hour and the awesomeness of the task, we have chosen four major pillars as our guide that will be the main thrust of our leadership during the next few years. They are Worship, Fellowship, Stewardship and Discipleship.” Concluding, he went on to say, “Over the years we have proved to be successful in evangelising those who came from various parts of the West Indies. Today the challenge that faces us is this, the decade of Evangelism leading up to the year 2000, is to reach beyond our borders into the wider community… It is our aim to evangelise no less than 20,000 souls and provide new churches for their growth and development by the year 2000”.
His task as Overseer was daunting; firstly he had to tackle the financial challenges of the Church. In 1995 he asked for a workable budget and then found that the staff was underpaid for the hours they had to work. Once the exercise was completed, there was an increase in salaries for everyone.
On 16 April 2001, there was an arson attack on the building at Overstone Park, resulting in two-thirds of the building being destroyed. The then National Secretary/Treasurer, Bishop L. R. McLeod had the wisdom to purchase a fire-proof safe before the fire thereby saving many valuable documents.
Many of our dedicated ministers and members gave of their time and resources to facilitate the continuation of the work of the National Office during this time of crisis. We extend our appreciation to Dr N. Gooden, Bishop L. A. Bailey, Bishop McLeod and many others for their unselfish commitment during this time. Bishop McLeod opened his house to accommodate the National Office administrative staff until a permanent solution was found.
Many other challenges faced the church; for example, a huge court case, major loss of credibility which we had to work hard to regain, increasing debts. Eventually, the debts were brought under control after Bishop McLeod was appointed National Secretary/Treasurer.
There were threats of litigation and many other challenges – the pressure was on. But through it all Dr. Brown stood his ground with the backing of the Executive Council.