Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has challenged the Church to play a more integral, leading and proactive role in transforming Jamaica.
“The Church has to lead in the binding up of the wounds of this nation, that sometimes seems battered, fainting and helpless and ready to die,” the Governor-General argued, as he brought greetings at the National Emancipation/Independence Thanksgiving Service, Sunday (August 2) at the East Queen Street Baptist Church, downtown Kingston.
He contended that while Jamaica, as an independent nation, is not subject to the dictates of others outside of its jurisdiction, “we continue to be enslaved in many ways.”
“Low levels of education and training, especially in advanced skills areas, prevent us from fully diversifying our economic base. In many ways, we can still see ourselves as being in mental slavery. We are still shackled by intolerance, lack of respect, distrust for each other, breakdown in family life, neglect and abuse of our children,” the Governor-General stated.
Noting that Jamaica continues to struggle with divisiveness, he lamented that many persons still feel excluded from opportunities for educational advancement, and the social and economic enrichment of their lives.
He described these factors as “crippling prospects” for development, which demand that the nation continue the struggle to be emancipated from them, as emancipation is an ongoing process.
He said that the destiny of each individual is intertwined with that of Jamaica’s, and called on the Church to become more involved in rescuing the nation.
“The Church has to give that which is infinitely more superior. (It) has to give itself as a sacrifice in service for the salvation of the nation,” he suggested.
“The Church was at the forefront of the struggle for freedom from physical bondage and slavery. The Church must, again, stand in the forefront and give leadership in the struggle against moral, mental, emotional and economic bondage; the Church has the moral and spiritual authority. Do not drop the ball, otherwise we may all perish,” the Governor-General urged.
Youth, Sports, and Culture Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, in her greetings, alluded to the theme for the service, and this year’s Emancipendence celebrations: “I Believe in Jamaica.” She said that they should not be considered mere words, but rather “our creed.”
“Our culture is built upon the belief that we can overcome great odds.That we can use minimal resources and create remarkable things. Strengthened by this philosophy and God’s blessing and guidance, we know that Jamaica cannot recede. I urge all Jamaicans to continue striving for greatness. We are a great people with a great culture, an identity, a history and a future worth believing in,” Miss Grange said.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, who, along with the Governor-General, headed the list of dignitaries attending the service, read the first scripture lesson from Deuteronomy 6:10-19. Opposition Leader, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, read the second from Galatians 5:1-14. Councillor/caretaker for the Rae Town Division of Central Kingston where the Church is situated, Ann-Marie Morrison, brought greetings on behalf of Member of Parliament, Rev. Ronald Thwaites.
The service featured musical selections and renditions from the Glenmuir High School Choir; Hope Gospel Assembly’s Generation Hope Choir; the combined choirs of Glenmuir, Ardenne High School and the Jamaica Youth Chorale; prodigious talent, Ana Strachan; and the East Queen Street Baptist Church.