Nearly 1,000 Jamaican nationals and friends joined in worship at the annual ecumenical service of thanksgiving at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale last Sunday (July 30) in celebration of the country’s 44th anniversary of Independence.
Several renditions of songs, readings and dance were performed by the Jamaica Independence Mass Choir, the Sierra Norwood Children’s Choir, and the Jamaica Folk Revue who also gave a special presentation in honor of the passing of Louis Bennett Coverley, O.M., O.J. while the congregation participated.
Lois Requa-Dunn, formely of Jamaica’s National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) along with her daughter, Sasha Dunn, performed a special dance selection.
Guest preacher, Father Richard Holung of the Missionaries of the Poor, described Jamaica and its Diaspora as a “seamless unit,” reminding the congregation that “as we go abroad, Jamaicans must remain committed to God and their island home,” emphasizing that Jamaicans have always maintained a spiritual culture.
Calling for service to one’s country, Father Holung appealed to his audience to ‘surrender your lives to service to your country.’ As he stressed the love Jamaicans had for their homeland, he reminded them of the poor and destitute “to whom justice has not been served.”
Referring to the team of 40 persons of the Missionaries of the Poor, organization, Father Holung spoke of the ongoing commitment of those, some being foreigners, willing to serve in other countries, urging Jamaicans to use that as an example of service to their homeland. In so doing, Father Holung said that this effort would be an example to the youth who were looking for challenges of service to their country.
The organization was now serving the needs of the destitute in countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Philippines, feeding over two million persons yearly.
In prayer for the nation, Father Holung reminded his nationals that “you were born not by accident but by purpose as Jamaicans” so they were to remain committed to service for their country as we continue to celebrate its growth and development.
Consul General Ricardo Allicock in his greetings spoke of the gift of freedom and independence that have allowed us to act together as one focused nation for the benefit of our people, regardless of race or ancestry.
In celebrating Independence and Emancipation, Mr. Allicock reminded the congregation to remember the significance of those events in our nation’s history.
Referring to Jamaica’s Diaspora Movement, the Consul General called on all Jamaicans to attain automatic and immediate membership in the interest of the country’s development and the strengthening of the communities abroad in which Jamaicans reside.
He paid tribute to “Miss Lou” reminding his audience to see her as the best example of humanity possible.
The service was officiated by Jamaican national, the Reverend Richard Ledgister, pastor of the Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church in Miami.
Proceeds of collection from the Church Service would benefit the Missionaries of the Poor and the Swift Purcell Boy’s Home in St. Mary.
Following the service, the staff of the Jamaica Consulate General hosted a Community reception.