COLUMN-Nov. 30 sermon to die for

bajan in nyIn the Diaspora, the 48th anniversary of Barbados’ Independence was celebrated in grand style on the November 30 weekend. Truth be told, the festivity was a tale of three celebrations: a Gala on Saturday that lacked interest and support; an uplifting Anniversary Of Independence Church Service Of Thanksgiving (with inaugural floral show) on Sunday; and the Ceremonial Flag Raising on Monday at the office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

And, as often happens, there were occurrences that provided interesting talking points.

The non-removal of the Barbados Flag by the New York Police Department Colour Guard at the end of the church service is a case in point.   

Consul John Blackman offered this word of caution: “The military is steeped in tradition. Everything they do is connected to some past experience. It is something that should be carefully checked out before one can say if it were a mistake.”

On the other hand, at the Gala, a talking point was the initial absence of the Barbados Flag. This was later corrected, while a large beautiful oil painting of the Flag remained mounted on a chair beside the podium.

At the end of the service of thanksgiving message by Reverend John Rogers, rector of St Luke’s Anglican Church in Barbados, an immediate ripple of applause and whispers rose among the congregation.

Congregation at Independence Service Of Thanksgiving.
Congregation at Independence Service Of Thanksgiving.
Reverend John Rogers delivering sermon at Independence Service Of Thanksgiving.
Reverend John Rogers delivering sermon at Independence Service Of Thanksgiving.

“Amen! Amen!”, “That was good! Yes, real good!”, “He can preach!” were clearly heard remarks.

Reverend Rogers retold the Moab story from Deuteronomy of how a community, during difficult times, was reminded that God was really responsible for all they had achieved and done.

“But how can you remember what you never experienced? The 48th anniversary of Independence is our plains of Moab . . . . As we face the similar challenges, we are called to remember our past and give thanks to God . . . . We must reflect on who we are, whence we came, and how we rose.

“It is only when we understand who we are, and where we came from, that we can honestly chart our future. We were brought to Carlisle Bay and sold. We were never meant to be who we are now; but God brought us this far” the priest said.

Reverend Rogers recited Verse 3 of our National Anthem, noting that, as far as he was aware, our Anthem was the only one that mentioned God, and that it was the accompanying words that should continue to be our daily guide.   

The church service, organized be the Consul General’s Office, comprised hymns, readings, prayers, guest performances and the execution of the National Anthem.

Consul General Dr Donna Hunte-Cox, who brought greetings and shared a few of her plans, presented a message from Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart, that said in part: “The significant achievements which our nation has attained more than justify the courageous decision by our forefathers, led by the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, to embark on the journey of nationhood and self-determination . . . . We continue to be a people of faith, as reflected in our worship and the affirmation of our dependence on God. Prayer, praise and the endorsement of fundamental biblical principles are intrinsically part of the Barbadian fabric.

Officials and awardees at Gala. At left is Barbados Consul General at New York Dr Donna Hunte-Cox; second  from left, United States Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Officials and awardees at Gala. At left is Barbados Consul General at New York Dr Donna Hunte-Cox; second from left, United States Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

“In addition, the members of our Diaspora community have expressed their love for the land of their birth in a variety of ways . . . and generally by being loyal ambassadors of Barbados wherever they are located in the world.”

Consul General Hunte-Cox and elected New York officials too gave greetings and best wishes to patrons at the Gala held at Antuns Caters and organized by (CBONY) the Council Of Barbadian Organizations.

The silent auction and art display –– two new features –– were well received. However, for the first time there was no journal or formal message from elected officials in Barbados or New York.

According to a reliable source, the annual Flag Raising Ceremony was well attended and received.

Ninety-year-old  Enid Headley              Searles (right) shaking a leg at Gala.
Ninety-year-old
Enid Headley Searles (right) shaking a leg at Gala.

(Email weuandi@aol.com)

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