Q705 Contextual Note

by Kathryn Barbour

This unremarkable service held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Georgetown, Guyana, took place at a time undetermined. May have been as early as 1974.  The service at Sacred Heart was described by a Guyanese journalist (2015) as Jim’s “first foothold” in Guyana. It goes on to say that Jones was banned from the church after it was found chicken parts had been used in healing services, so he may have held more than one service there.

In the service Jim Jones is low-key, ecumenical, and off-balance as he attempts to gauge his audience’s political and religious sensibilities, and speak to them. He is supported by a small but vocal number of assistant ministers, singers, and others. Supporters are also in the audience, mostly distinguished by the louder voices responding to his message in an attempt to move the mostly stolid attendees, whose voices are rarely heard. The healing service was especially unpredictable, as the crowd surged toward Jim when he went down to the aisles and he repeatedly tells them to stay in their seats and not step on the microphone cord.

Speakers/singers accompanying Jones

Norman Ijames, Johnny Brown, Dianne Wilkinson, and another, maybe Debby Touchette?

Rest of Side 2:

Staff discussions on the same day, following the service, are solicited by Jim in an attempt to better understand the religious, and journalistic entities in the capital, and how to ensure the press write about the service without making him look “religious”. As a hint to the date of this tape, Jim complains about the opposite: an instance where one member said during a California demonstration in support of the Fresno Bee, that “we didn’t believe in God” and was quoted in the article. I think PT’s first demonstration on behalf of Fresno Bee reporters was at the time of the air traffic controllers’ strike.

A separate, follow-up discussion centers on paperwork to be completed for the agricultural project and talks with two Guyanese consultants on the various ministers, what to expect in response to our applications, and the usual timing of approvals.

Speakers, besides Jones

In the first discussion, I clearly identified Archie Ijames, Norman Ijames, Dick Tropp, and I thought maybe Mike Prokes, but not sure of Prokes. In the second, I guessed Paula Adams as the female staff member. No one was calling anyone by name and voices were mostly muted, very indistinct except for Jim’s, Guyanese speakers, and Norman’s, and Dick’s, when he spoke once.

Originally posted on February 24th, 2019.

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