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  • The Government is being lauded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its work in preserving and encouraging freedom of religion and worship for all Jamaicans.
  • Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director of the Jamaica Union Conference, Nigel Coke, said the type of religious freedom that Jamaicans currently enjoy, makes the country one of the most tolerant societies in the world, where religion is concerned.
  • Mr. Coke, therefore, lauded successive governments over the past 50 years, for upholding the tenets of freedom of religion and worship, which are enshrined in the Constitution.

The Government is being lauded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its work in preserving and encouraging freedom of religion and worship for all Jamaicans.

Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director of the Jamaica Union Conference, Nigel Coke, said the type of religious freedom that Jamaicans currently enjoy, makes the country one of the most tolerant societies in the world, where religion is concerned.

Mr. Coke, therefore, lauded successive governments over the past 50 years, for upholding the tenets of freedom of religion and worship, which are enshrined in the Constitution.

He was speaking on Tuesday (January 6) at the launch of the world ‘Festival of Religious Freedom’, at the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on Constant Spring Road, in Kingston.

The festival, which is being spearheaded by the SDA Church, in collaboration with the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches (JUGC) and other religious groups, is the first ever such event to be held in Jamaica.

It is slated to take place at the National Arena on Saturday, January 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is expected to be attended by Government and civic leaders, representatives of the diplomatic and business communities, as well as thousands from the various religious groups.

 

Mr. Coke said all are invited to attend the festival. “It is for everyone – religious people and persons who have no religious affiliation,” he added.

He noted that it is to Jamaica’s credit and in recognition of the country’s openness to religious liberties, that the event is being staged in the island.

The event has been held in countries across six continents, including Angola and the Philippines.

Mr. Coke said among the objectives of the festival is to celebrate freedom of religion by all religious denominations in Jamaica.

He explained that the event also aims to raise the awareness of the need to be vigilant in guarding the country’s current freedom of religion and worship, “as freedom of religion or belief is also intimately intertwined with other freedoms, including freedom of expression, association and assembly.”

The festival will also facilitate the launch of the National Religious Liberty Association (NRLA) in Jamaica, an affiliate of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA).

Reverend Dr. Alvin Bailey of the JUGC said the initiative, which it considers a worthwhile event, has its full support.

“It represents for us a statement of peace… unity, respect and tolerance for all religions,” he noted.

Also endorsing the festival, Chairperson for the Jamaica Council of Inter-faith Fellowship (JCIF), Reverend Dr. Marjorie Lewis, said the organisation embraces the responsibility of preserving religious freedom for all Jamaicans.

“Not only for ourselves, but also for others of different ideological and religious beliefs, and for those who choose not to embrace religion at all,” she added.

The day’s programme will include a dramatization, a documentary highlighting the history of religion in Jamaica, as well as presentations from International Evangelist, Pastor Glen Samuels and President of the IRLA, Ambassador Robert Seiple.

There will also be a free gospel musical showcase, featuring artistes such as George Gordon, Judy Mowatt, Carey Sales, and Jabez.

The festival is being held under the theme, ‘Our Right… Our Freedom… Let’s Celebrate!’

 

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