Tooth Bus Dedication

The Tooth Bus is a large bus outfitted with all the equipment needed to make and repair dentures, and provide prophylactic dentistry and teeth cleanings.  The Tooth Bus will be used by JEMM (Jamaica Ecumenical Mutual Mission) for dental teams working with the underserved in Jamaica and will be able to go almost anywhere in Jamaica where there is a work site. After over 10 years of visioning, fundraising and hard work, the Tooth Bus was shipped to Jamaica in late 2020.  Read more about the history of the Tooth Bus and the efforts to convert the bus into a mobile unit in this article written just after it made its way to Jamaica.

A celebration to dedicate “Ethel” the Tooth Bus was held on June 30 at Kings Gate United Church in Kingston, Jamaica. The Rev. Nigel Pusey, JEMM Executive Committee, moderated the service.  Bob Bell, Co-Chair of St. Augustine Mutual Mission, and Dr. Jim Gaff, the now retired dentist who spearheaded the Tooth Bus Project and leader of many dental teams, traveled to Jamaica to participate in the service. Drs. Carlton Davis and Pauline Lawrence from Gainesville offered remarks via Zoom. Leaders from JEMM’s participating denominations also had roles in the dedication ceremony. See the Act of Dedication Litany reprinted below. After the Ribbon Cutting, visitors were invited to tour the Tooth Bus.

Bob Bell, Jim Gaff, and Pauline Lawrence (via Zoom)
participated in the ceremony.

The project has been a long journey of transformation, with much of the renovation work done by volunteers from throughout the presbytery. Funding came from numerous sources, making the Tooth Bus truly a group effort which will impact Jamaica for years to come. One of the donors, Pauline Lawrence, shared that “The presence of Ethel, the Tooth Bus, in Jamaica is testament to the outstanding collaboration among SAMM, JEMM, and their many donors and partners and as importantly, to the leadership of Dr. Jim Gaff and Mrs. Shernett Smith. My husband and I were delighted to participate in the dedication, though virtually. We pray that Ethel will safely transport the Dental Team to the many towns and villages throughout the island and as team members provide well needed dental care to our people, that they themselves will experience fulfillment and God’s richest blessings.”

Mrs. Shernett Smith , JEMM Director, shared that “JEMM/SAMM takes pride in bringing smiles to those who, formerly, were ashamed to do so, because of the decay or absence of teeth. We give God thanks and all the glory for enabling and sustaining this unique and vital ministry initiative.” 

Bob Bell, Co-Chair of the St. Augustine Mutual Mission Team, is looking forward to continuing the ministry with the JEMM Partners. “We are looking forward to a new beginning of our work in Jamaica extracting teeth, making dentures and being able to do provide dental hygiene for our Jamaican friends.  We would like to have you join us in the endeavor if you are a dentist, a dental technician that sets teeth, or you are a hygienist.  We are making plans for our next trip to Jamaica in January or February of 2023.” Stay tuned for details about the upcoming mission.

Act of Dedication Litany

Leader:  We are gathered today to dedicate this Mobile Dental Unit for service to men, women, boys and girls of this country, Jamaica.

Let us quiet ourselves in the awesome presence of the Sovereign Lord of Host.

Lord God of heaven and earth, of nature and the nations, to Whose Glory we celebrate the dedication of this Mobile Dental Unit: We look to the heavens and see Your Glory declared. We look around us and are awed by the wonders of Your Creation. We look at the past and are reminded that creation came about at Your Word. We look at the present and see Your Word fulfilled.  As we look to the future it is with expectation of, and a deep sense of anticipation for, the fulfilment of Your Promises and the sureness of Your Faithfulness.

Response:  Heavenly Father, we praise and glorify Your Holy Name.

Leader:  We thank You for the inspiration, innovation and vision of those who conceptualized the idea which is a reality before us today-this Mobile Dental Unit;

Response:  Heavenly Father, we praise and glorify Your Holy Name.

We humbly devote to the glory of Your Name this vehicle and all the dental equipment with which it is outfitted to the service of humanity in this part of your vineyard;

Response:  Heavenly Father, we praise and glorify Your Holy Name.

Leader:  Holy God, as we devote and assign this mobile Unit to the service of humanity, which is ultimately for the glory of Your Name, be pleased Almighty God to consecrate and help us set it apart.  Bless, we kindly ask, the services, which shall hereafter be offered from this facility;

Response:  For the sake and glory of Your Name we beseech You Heavenly.

Leader:  Repel by the power of Your Divine Holy Spirit, all vandals and everyone with evil intent towards this vehicle and its contents;

Response:  For the sake and glory of Your Name, we beseech You Heavenly Father.

Leader:  May Your protective presence be with those who will operate and offer services within this Mobile Unit;

Response:  For the sake and glory of Your name, we beseech You Heavenly Father

Leader:  Continue we pray to bless the JEMM/SAMM union through the inspiration, innovation and vision given by Your   Holy Spirit.  We also ask Your blessings on all other stakeholders:  the Ministry of Health and Wellness, our donors and volunteers. We ask all this through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, Who is alive and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

All:  Amen.