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Jamaican Diaspora Celebrates Independence As “The Journey Continues”

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Hundreds of Jamaican nationals and friends filled the pews of the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale on Sunday (Aug. 7) as they worshipped at the Ecumenical Service in thanksgiving and celebration of Jamaica’s anniversary of Emancipation and 49th Independence. 

The annual event was organized by the staff of the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami. Joining in the celebrations were  members of the Diplomatic Corp as well as public and civic officials across South Florida.

Using the national Independence theme “The Journey continues”, guest preacher Bishop Dr. Delford Davis, Senior Pastor of the Power Faith Ministries in Portmore, St. Catherine, said that Jamaica’s historical journey so far has been filled with triumphs and tragedies as well as friends and foes, and charged the nearly 1,000-strong congregation to be steadfast with God as we continue because “He has been good to us and He guides the way that we ought to go”.

Describing nationals at home and abroad as a resilient people of purpose and promise, great potential and inestimable possibilities, Bishop Davis encouraged them to be hopeful and supportive of the vision of our leaders as we continue to build our homeland.

Chronicling significant milestones throughout our history, Bishop Davis reiterated that Jamaicans continue to distinguish themselves worldwide through their contributions and achievements because of their strength, determination, creativity, confidence and positive impact as trendsetters.  He urged his congregants to be mindful of prayer at all times on their continued path for personal development and service to their communities, and in helping to find solutions to the nation’s economic recovery.

As he saluted the Jamaicans in the Diaspora on the significant milestone in the nation’s history, special guest, Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, praised Jamaicans abroad for their contributions and achievements in building the Diasporic communities. 

Meanwhile, he called on nationals to assist in finding solutions to improve the Jamaican education system adding that “we can build a proud nation free of crime and violence, if we can provide a seat in classrooms for every child comfortably.”

The Minister who was participating in South Florida’s Independence celebrations, also read the Independence message from the Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding.

Jamaica’s Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths gave the welcome remarks as she praised Jamaicans as they continued to demonstrate support and commitment to nation building at home and in their respective Diasporic communities, individually and through the several community organizations.

The Consul General called on all Jamaicans in the Diaspora to prepare for the commemoration of next year’s golden jubilee celebration of Independence heralding another significant milestone in our nation’s history.  “It will be a time of celebration as we celebrate to the hilt during 2012 at home and throughout the Diaspora,” she added.

The service lasted for three hours and included recitals by the South Florida Caribbean Chorale, a 100-voice strong group of choristers from Jamaican populated congregations in the South Florida communities, led by choir director, Steve Higgins. The congregation joined in the gospel selections sung by the Jamaica Folk Revue and the Tallawah Mento Band. The Sierra Norwood Calvary Church Cultural Group performed an outstanding rendition of song and dialect saluting developments in the nation’s culture and heritage.

Officiating Minister was the Reverend Karl Francis, pastor Living World Open Bible Church in Cooper City.  The prayers for Jamaica and the United States were read by Pastor Beresford Henry, Blessing and Power Deliverance International Ministries, and Reverend Kathy Nolasco, Pastor Plantation United Methodist Church, respectively.

The Scripture lessons were read by the Reverend Dr. Wesley Green of Christway Baptist Church, Miramar, Miss Chomora Rolle, student, and MissTiana Henry, Miss Jamaica Florida 2011.

Proceeds of collection will benefit educational programmes namely the Portsmouth Primary School Feeding Programme in Portmore, Food for the Poor and the Coalition of Jamaican Alumni Associations (CJAA) in South Florida.

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Written by jamarch