Pastor Winston Cuffie, recipient of a Chaconia Medal (Gold) in this year's Independence Day awards, began his ministry 28 years ago, and almost immediately became a household name.On June 26, 1983, a youthful, newly married Pastor Cuffie and his wife Angela opened their first church in a small 20 square feet wooden structure on the Main Road, Chase Village, Central Trinidad. It was a Pentecostal place of worship and ministry to the needy and they called it Miracle Ministries.The emphasis of the church was on rehabilitation of young men and women caught up in drugs, crime and other socially-defective conditions. The young pastor and his bride reached out with a ministry focused on strengthening family life and Bible-based deliverance from physical, emotional and spiritual challenges.Soon Miracle Ministries was getting attention from the media with stories of the many young men who had been converted and rehabilitated (or recovering) from a life of narcotics or other criminal activities. There were also several reports of miraculous healings and family restoration. The crowds flooded Miracle Ministries and the church expanded at a rapid rate.In just over a year, the church purchased an acre of prime lands on the Main Road in Chase Village, Chaguanas and a much larger facility was built.
This, according to Pastor Cuffie, was "to operate a multi-faceted, holistic Ministry which would be much better equipped to address the needs of the people being assisted."Eighteen months after it was founded, Miracle Ministries had its own pre-school, youth and adult literacy programmes, social/charity operations, free medical assistance from trained professionals, a small agriculture project, and scholarships were being offered to young men in various craft and academic skills.A few months later, a vibrant music training programme began at the church, with well-known instructor, Cyril Ramdeo. This broadened to steelpan groups, dance, drama and poetry.The popular 4M BAND, with local gospel hits such as Addicted and Gimme Jesus, evolved from this initiative. Many members of the band had been transformed from anti-social or nefarious lifestyles.Roger Israel and Amar Studios were hired by Pastor Cuffie to do three albums. All 27 songs were written by Pastor Cuffie.Today the fruits of Miracle Ministries' music ministry have grown to the point of performances at Hollywood, Madison Square Garden and Times Square, New York; Six Flags, and recordings at Sony and Avatar Studios, in the United States.By late 1985, Miracle Ministries was "a force to be reckoned with." Pastor Cuffie's "revolutionary" style dramatically crossed the boundaries of "Pentecostal status quo." He began using the print and electronic media to pointedly address social and political issues which he saw as "practical Christian responsibility to society." This, as was expected, caused a considerable stir throughout the nation, with mixed reactions.
In his typical bold, focused style, Pastor Cuffie continued to significantly expand the programmes, scope, prominence and influence of Miracle Ministries nationally and internationally. His effectiveness was notably augmented as he formed partnerships and alliances with various NGOs, individuals, and Government agencies.To varying degrees, Miracle Ministries has worked with YTEPP, SHARE, Skills Training Development Agency, OJT, ECCE, COSTAATT and NEDCO; the Couva, Talparo/Tabaquite Corporation, the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Community Development, Ministry of Social Developments, Ministry of Food Production, Ministry of Health, National Aids Coordinating Committee (NACC), Environmental Management Authority, Red Cross Association of Trinidad and Tobago, The Scouts Association of Trinidad and Tobago, WASA and the Voice of One Overcomers Club. Miracle Ministries has also operated a legal consultancy service and medical clinic.Many of Cuffie's peers continue to describe his accomplishments and "leadership acumen" as "astounding"."This is particularly so from the standpoint that neither he nor his Ministry has had the benefit of support from a denomination or any foreign aid, but built this huge Organisation from scratch in such a relatively short time."The extraordinary achievements reflect sheer hard work and exemplary selfless and devoted, long-term service, by the remarkable grace of the Lord," said medical doctor Bishop Dr David Ibeleme of Victorious Faith Ministries, with headquarters in Port-of-Spain.
He describes Pastor Cuffie, as "an unusually brilliant leader who is a special gift to Trinidad and Tobago and the Body of Christ... His Chaconia Gold is most certainly well-deserved".Senior Pastor Bernard Joseph of Christ for the Nations, USA said: "I have known Rev Dr Winston Cuffie for the past 20 years. He has an amazing mind. His creative and innovative capacity is incredible. His depth of love for people truly reflects God."Pundit Dave Rampersad of the Mc Bean Hindu Temple was high in praise of Cuffie's community work, particularly the Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School."Pastor Cuffie is doing a tremendous work in the community, especially with this school. It's a light to the community. You see the excellent results and the discipline inculcated in the students." Former Couva/Talparo Regional Corporation Chairman Mulchan Lewis remarked: "Dr Cuffie is an asset any community will love to have. His partnership with the Corporation has always been highly valued and cherished."Today the organisation is known as Miracle Ministries International and Rev Dr Winston Cuffie is CEO and General Overseer. The organisation includes the Miracle Ministries Complex in Chaguanas with the 2,400-seat Christ Castle (an architectural masterpiece designed entirely by Pastor Cuffie) with a congregation of 5,000.There is also an Early Childhood Centre, Institute of Ministry and Tertiary Education; Education and Empowerment Centre; a 550-student seven-year, Government-assisted Secondary School; Rehabilitation, Counseling and Family Services; Discipleship and Mentoring Operation, Charitable Foundation, Missionary Outreach and a Media Centre.Pastor Cuffie has also worked in collaboration with virtually every religious body in T&T, on various initiatives.