Reverend Dr. Joel Edwards of the World Evangelical Alliance says at 50, the country has important choices to make that will have implications for the future, and will have an "impact on our children and our children’s children."
"Our choices must touch the issue of private and public lives or probity and politics. In the brave new world of the 21st Century, we have tough contemporary, moral choices to make; choices about human rights and our constitutional relationship with the rest of the Commonwealth, our economy, the education of our children, and our crime rate,” he said.
Rev. Edwards was delivering the sermon at the official service of Praise and Thanksgiving in the United Kingdom (UK), held on July 21, to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s Independence.
The service was held at the historic Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, London, with more than 2,000 persons in attendance. The two-hour service featured poetry, music, song and dance.
He told the large congregation that at 50, it is still possible to be proud of your past and yet pensive about your future. “Here we stand ex slaves with a lot going for us and still experimenting with the responsibilities of freedom. Jamaica land we love overflows with giftedness and great people. We have opened our hands to bless the world in art, music, sports, politics and business," Rev. Edwards said.
However, he argued that the country, with all its possibilities and potential, is an unfinished symphony, and is now in a better position to make better choices about the future.
"At 50, we are better positioned to make better choices about a better future. What is needed is greater collaboration from our politicians, spiritual leaders and businesses, which will demonstrate that we can work harmoniously together, because we have come of age,” Rev. Edwards said.
A special feature was a short video showing Jamaica’s journey towards Independence in 1962. This was followed by the presentation of the Jamaican flag by Corporal Paul Johnson of the Jamaica Defence Force (UK), who is in London studying at the Royal Military School of Music.
Fifty children of Jamaican heritage from across the United Kingdom, representing the 50 years of Independence, recited the poem, ‘Ballad of 65’ by Alma Norman, about the Morant Bay Rebellion, and the national Pledge, much to the delight of the congregation.
The service also featured a specially choreographed dance of praise by Jackie Guy, ‘I saw my land in the Morning’. The poems, ‘Home Thoughts’ by Claude McKay and Miss Lou’s ‘Dear Cousin Min’, were performed by actress, Dona Croll.
Internationally renowned saxophonist, Yolanda Brown, performed Amazing Grace, while a rendition of Peter Tosh’s ‘Creation’ was done by Hugh Douse of the Nexus Choir from Jamaica.