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Ilford pastor grows church with music, about to release CD

PASSION FOR WORSHIP MUSIC: Pastor Bryon Jones is releasing his first album

PASTOR BRYON Jones is praying that the success he’s currently experiencing at Eden Christian Centre (ECC) in Ilford, Essex, will spill over into his music following the release of Forever, his debut solo album.

The album stems from Jones' love for praise and worship music. When he first joined ECC, 29 years ago, it was known as the Apostolic Church, Ilford, and had just 25 members – and he says the worship music was of questionable quality.

He recalled:

“The praise and worship wasn’t very good, and I used to sit at the back of the church and be miserable. I wanted to leave, but felt compelled to stay. I tried to help. Got my nephew to play drums. I paid musicians to come and play.”

His efforts made a noticeable difference. Jones took over the church pastorate 10 years ago, changed the name, focused on having good preaching and music. This, coupled with testimonies of miraculous healings, has caused the church to grow, and they now have almost 300 people visiting the church every Sunday.

As far as the pastor is concerned, Forever contains songs for everyone.

“I’ve written the album for the church to sing. They are simple songs that are Christ-centred, but I think they are creative enough for people outside the church to appreciate it.”


DREAM TEAM: Christine Jones, left, with husband Pastor Bryon Jones (photo credit: Eden Christian Centre)

Produced by his son Joshua, special guests on Forever include renowned singer Priscilla Jones-Campbell, Jones’ sister. She was a member of renowned UK gospel group Nu Colours, sang on hit BBC1 TV show Strictly Come Dancing and currently works as vocal trainer on talent show X Factor. She also arranges and sings backing on the singles of X Factor winners and regularly asks her brother to be part of the team.

Other guest artists on Forever include soloist Zalika Henry and worship leader Sam Blake, with whom Jones co-wrote several songs on the album. One of the album tracks, Go In The Name of Jesus, has a special meaning for Jones. It was the theme song at the Ablaze Conference, the 100th anniversary celebrations of Pentecostal denomination the Apostolic Church last year.

He said:

“The response to the song has been really good and it’s being sung in churches across the denomination and is going to be the first single from the album.”

Long-standing Gospel music fans will know Jones, or Pastor Jones as he is called these days, from his time singing in Gospel group Jones & Co. in the 1980s and 90s, where he performed alongside three of his sisters.

Born in Jamaica, Jones came to the UK when he was nine and joined his Christian parents and siblings in Wolverhampton.


GOOD GENES: Priscilla Jones-Campbell, sister to Pastor Bryon Jones' and TV vocal coach

Suprised

Growing up, Jones' musical influences included Peabo Bryson and Charlie Wilson. Raised in the Apostolic Church, he developed his taste for Gospel when he visited evening services at the local black Pentecostal church. He became a member of a group called the Pilgrim Brothers and also sang in Jones & Co. The group recorded a number of albums and won awards.

He moved to live in London 29 years ago, and following a stint as a career-driven marketeer and partner in an international consultancy firm, is now surprised to be pastor.

Now that running a church and singing is part of his life, Jones' desires are simple:

“I’d like to do more albums. There are more songs within me so I’d really like to continue doing that and to make them creative to new sounds, new ways of doing things,” says the married father-of-three.

“In terms of the church, it would be great to plant more churches. I’d love to have an Eden in Birmingham.”

For more information on Pastor Bryon Jones, click here.

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