Hundreds Attend Independence Church Service in New York City


Hundreds of Jamaicans and friends of the island in New York City, USA, including elected officials and community leaders, attended the Church Service of Thanksgiving to mark Jamaica’s 47th year of Independence held on Sunday (July 26) at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
Consul General of Jamaica in New York, Geneive Brown Metzger, delivered Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding’s message at the function, which acknowledged that the journey over the last 47 years, while marked with victories, had also been beset with challenges.
He, however, urged Jamaicans not to be “discouraged by the problems that prevail, as though tremendous, they are not insurmountable.” He noted that the contribution of the Jamaican Diaspora in various fields is always welcome, as building a nation will take collaboration and co-operation.
Consul General Brown Metzger, in her own remarks, encouraged Jamaicans to “remember who we are as a nation – (people), who honour justice and truth.” She further challenged the Diaspora to rise to new heights as they continue to support their homeland, build local communities where they live, and inspire the next generation to claim their inheritance as Jamaicans.
The Consul General also acknowledged greetings from Her Majesty The Queen, who offered best wishes.
In delivering the homily, Jamaican-born and outgoing Vicar Bishop of New York City, Rt. Rev. E. Don Taylor, who will take up duties as rector of the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Kingston on September 1, urged Jamaicans to continue striving for excellence and to co-operate with each other to build the nation. “Our founding fathers, Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley, pushed and pulled, yet they were best friends,” he stated.
The stately celebration began with a procession led by the Consul General, followed by clergy from different denominations. The service featured traditional Episcopalian prayers, medley of Sanctus, and a resounding solo rendition of the national song ‘I Pledge My Heart’ by soprano, Sonya Headlam. The harmonising melody of the children’s steel band delivered a meditative piece that captivated the audience.
The service paused for a moment of silence to recognise Saturday’s (July 25) passing of Lady Gladys Bustamante, widow of Jamaican National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, and a prominent member of the Jamaican trade union movement.
New Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and former United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Brenda LaGrange Johnson, were among the dignitaries at the function, which was organised by the Jamaican Consulate General in New York.

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