Black Immigrant Daily News
DANCE: The Shiv Shakti Dancers during their invocation dance at the national service of reflection and thanksgiving on Sunday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. PHOTO COURTESY OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER – OPM
THE Prime Minister says while the nation continues to experience hurt following the pandemic, crime and recent flooding, people need to have faith that there is a dawn to come after the darkness.
He made this call while thanking religious leaders who participated in an event on Sunday dubbed by Government as, a National Service of Reflection and Thanksgiving, at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
Dr Rowley thanked the religious leaders for their words of encouragement and said the nation needed to be encouraged.
“We are experiencing the ending of the pandemic. It was a punch in the solar plexus, it burnt up all our savings and has taken some of our loved ones. You the people would have heard from your spiritual leaders about our circumstances and what your response should be.
“We have been encouraged to listen, we have experienced the hurt, but we have also been told in the great darkness there is dawn to be had.
“This is our source of strength, in our Christian community this is called faith, without faith we’re lost, we have to have faith in ourselves, our neighbours, our doctors, our teachers, our leaders, as we have faith in our Gods,” Rowley said.
During the inter-faith service, leaders of the various main religions practised in TT not only prayed, but also spoke on several national issues including crime and the recent floods.
END CULTURE OF DISRESPECT
RC Archbishop of Port of Spain Fr Charles Jason Gordon said the nation had gone through a time of suffering and challenge during the pandemic but could emerge clearer if people did the spiritual work required.
“There’s a work we have to do of grieving because so many people have lost so much in the last three years. Much of what we are experiencing is trauma, as seen in the upsurge in violence in our schools, our streets, and our homes, and we have to consciously have to work to heal.
“The usual first response to trauma is anger, and if you feel the pulse of the nation there is anger, it’s boiling and we have to confront it.”
He said there were three facets of doing this physical work: moving from a culture of disrespect to one of respect; showing compassion; and, being grateful.
“We have made a national pastime of disrespect, and we have to recognise that each person is a child of God, regardless of creed, race, or where they come from, and they must be given that respect.
“To move to a culture of respect, we have to hear how our tongue addresses other people, and give a word of blessing versus cursing and disrespect.
GIVE THANKS, GET BLESSINGS
Imam of the Mucurapo Street, San Fernando Mosque, Maulana Atif Majeed Suliamani said Allah is calling on people to give thanks to Him and He would bless them.
“The thanksgiving of a grateful heart is priceless. This is what God expects of us, no matter what the challenge, you give thanks to God, and say, ‘I am grateful,’ and He will give you more. Complaining gives us more misery and more trouble,” Suliamani said.
He prayed for blessings for those who were working for peace, flood victims, and those who were touched by violence. He asked for wisdom, knowledge, courage and guidance for the leaders of the nation.
President of the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventist Churches, Dr Kern Tobias, said there was much to reflect on, both positive and negative. He said he chose to be optimistic and look to the creator for help.
“We thank you for who you are, merciful, magnificent, trustworthy to us as families. As a country, minimise our blunders and maximise our blessings. We should always remember to praise God for the benefits, remember those who lost loved ones, those who were flooded out and those who lost loved ones in other tragic circumstances,.
The Dharmacharya, Dr Rampersad Parasram, said there had always been challenges in human history and it was the duty of religious leaders to remind people that no matter how long and dark the night is, the dawn must come.
“I pray that the light of the supreme God shines on those who have been victims of poverty and deprivation, those traumatised in one way or another, those who have fallen into despair, and I pray that they come out of that state and be prosperous in the not too distant future. Let us all love and embrace one another and let us all do what is right.”
“WHAT CAN I DO?”
Patriarch Wayne Jones of the National Congress of Incorporated Spiritual Baptist Organisations said people must ask what they can do or give to each other, instead of what they could get.
“In giving thanks, it’s not the abundance of things we should be grateful for, but the little we have to share. This morning, the Spiritual Baptist community is walking through the streets saying no to crime, because we feel the danger is not only physical but also deeply spiritual.”
Reverend Duane Samm, Superintendent of the North Trinidad and Circuit of the Methodist Church said the multiplicities of cultures made TT an interesting country to govern.
“We are a fascinating people. Given the myriad approaches and views on dealing with covid19, flooding, politics and crime, we give thanks that we are still standing as a nation. We need to stick with each other. God grant us the resilience to understand and overcome challenges, and may we seek to live in harmony.”
Reverend Keron Khellawan of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church asked that God give the nation hope and resilience to press on during the current challenges.
“Come and touch every home, every household in our nation, and remind them to give thanks by looking up to who you are.
“Thank you for waking us up, keeping our eyes fixed on who you are, and we know that we can come from different spaces, times, seasons and know your grace is still among us. We know the times are difficult, challenges will be difficult, but when we put you first, we will overcome. Help us to magnify the light you are.”
The Reverend Canon Richard Jacob of the All Saints Anglican Church enjoined listeners to be respectful, compassionate, and grateful following the trials the nation has gone through.
“Help us not to forget what the time was like when we didn’t seem to have control of our lives, that we don’t forget the lessons learned. In your hope and grace, peace, joy, and love require that we trust in you and seek you in every choice that we make.
“Show us the way we should go that our choices will be pleasing in your sight, help us build each other up and not break each other down, and work together for the common good.”
During the service, there were performances which included one by the Shiv Shakti Dancers and a bhajan (Hindu song of worship) which was performed by Kaveesh Maharaj.
There were also performances by the Shiv Shakti Dancers, a bhajan (Hindu song of worship) by Kaveesh Maharaj and band, a song by Spiritual Shouter Baptist Mother Rachel Jack-Edwards and others.