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Omar Oliphant – Pastor, Lawyer, Family Man

This pastor plays the piano. That’s good, but who cares? Hardly anyone, it seems. What people are really talking about is that this pastor is now a lawyer.

Seventh-day Adventist pastor, Omar Oliphant, who is in charge of the Salem Pastoral District of Churches in St Ann, graduated from the Norman Manley Law School last year and was called to the bar in December 2017 – a first for the Adventist Church, the largest denomination in the island.

Since then, some people have expressed concern, saying the two disciplines Oliphant is involved in are conflicting. Some ask, how can a pastor who is doing the work of the Lord become a lawyer when lawyers are popularly regarded as liars, and lawyers sometimes protect people charged with heinous crimes?

But is this just a storm in a teacup, or are the concerns warranted? Family and Religion caught up with Pastor Oliphant at his home in St Ann, and he was only too happy to speak on the matter.

“There are two prisms on either side that one must use to view this: on the legal side, church members must know that there are many branches of law,” Oliphant pointed out. “Many individuals, as soon as they hear law, they still think of it in the restrictive sense of a criminal lawyer. But today, there exists numerous branches and scopes of law – environmental, media, intellectual property, probate, among others.”

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