Make time for your children and they will make time for you – Pastor Maurice McAllister

By La’Wanda McAllister

It is often said that life gives us so many more blessings than we have allowed ourselves to receive. Reverend Maurice McAllister, a pastor for over 52 years, and originally from Good Hope, Essequibo Coast, considers being able to father hundreds of people, including his biological children, even when he did not experience a fatherly presence in his home, one of his blessings.
The 79-year-old believes that through his years of pastoral service, he has discovered his own wholeness and has found a way to impact the lives of many who now call him father.
Reverend McAllister, who is the biological father of three daughters and two sons, vocalised that even in his busy schedule of raising 22 churches across Guyana, he made it a priority to find time for his children.
The minister who now lives overseas said that because of the many challenges he would have experienced during his childhood because of the lack of a father, he ensured that his children would never have to bear such an experience.
He related that during his childhood, his mother and father decided to separate, and he suffered due to their decision.
As a result of his parents’ separation, Reverend McAllister and his mother moved to Calcutta, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara (ECD), where he lived a number of years and later married his now late wife Stephanie Janet McAllister, who dedicated her time helping him in his ministry.
“My father was an alcoholic and when he was intoxicated, he conducted himself in an unbecoming manner. He did so many things, however, when he was sober, he talked very nicely to my mother. He tried to stay with my mother but she decided that was not best for her. It was difficult not having my father around.
I hardly saw him because he lived in Essequibo and we lived in Mahaicony and it was only when we went on very limited trips to Essequibo I would see my father,” he said.

He added that even though his father lived far away and he hardly saw or heard from him, he loved him. He said he examined his father’s life and saw the number of losses he encountered being an alcoholic, and as a result he vowed not to make the same decisions.
“I decided not to drink, not to smoke and not to become an abuser. I have never done either of that in my life. I promised that I would be there for my children because I saw what it did to my father’s life. I made sure that I took care of my children and ensured that they had a good education.”
Years after his father passed, Pastor McAllister became a father to many in and out of Guyana, giving hope to those who have never had a father’s love or lacked a father figure in their lives. He was able to do so while travelling, pastoring, and ministering at several churches in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and the United States of America.
“I was motivated to be a father figure in those people’s lives because after reading the bible I saw how Naomi was there for Ruth, and how Paul was there for Timothy… I saw good examples of fathers and I wanted to model my life after those. There are many instances when my father was not around and strangers were there for me. They sat me down and showed me the right from wrong. That is what I wanted to do for others,” he said.
In encouraging fathers who have neglected their children, or might not be in their child or children’s lives, Reverend McAllister said, “make time for your children… whether or not your spousal relationship is not working, make time for your children. You will not remain strong all your life, you will need your children. There are two things, sickness and old age, remember that. If you make time for your children, they will make time for you”.