Hundreds of Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica from across the United Kingdom (UK), gathered at the Parish Church of St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, in London England, on Emancipation Day (August 1), for a Service of Praise and Thanksgiving, and to observe the country’s 47th Anniversary of Independence.
Rector of the Port Antonio Parish Church in Jamaica, Reverend Georgia Grace Jervis, who preached this year’s sermon, said it was appropriate to commemorate the freedom of the African ancestors. This, she said, was a testimony of the indomitable spirit and resilience that is intrinsically bound to the country’s history and heritage.
Rev. Jervis said because she was a toddler at the time of Independence, she had no longing for “the good old days.” However, she said she had a deep yearning for the fulfillment of the promised destiny of Jamaicans.
“I long therefore for a Jamaica that is triumphant, because we would have overcome obstacles in the process to become a developed country. I long for a Jamaica that is proud; proud that our sons and daughters would have taken their place as leaders in the free world. And I long for a Jamaica that is free, that would mean that our way of life would have become responsive to the divinely engineered liberation that is characterised by wholesome displays of worship,” she said.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Burchell Whiteman read the Emancipation Day message on behalf of Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding. The Prime Minister urged Jamaicans not to allow their minds to be imprisoned in slavery.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), His Excellency Burchell Whiteman, reads Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding’s Emancipation Message at the Service of Praise and Thanksgiving, held at the Church of St Martin in the Field, in London England, on Emancipation Day (August 1).
“Just as slavery is a part of our history, emancipation is also a part of that history, the culmination of the struggles waged by the slaves themselves, church missionaries and enlightened individuals and organisations, both here and abroad. So, even though our roots are embedded in slavery, we must not allow our minds to be imprisoned in slavery for our branches are free to grow and bloom and produce good fruit,” the Prime Minister’s said.
Mr. Golding said that slavery was the legacy we have inherited and not a curse that we still carry.
“The courage and fortitude that withstood the brutality of slavery and led our forefathers to emancipation is still in our veins. It is what will empower us to confront any difficulty, overcome any obstacle and lead us to a brighter day when we will not only be a free people, but a peaceful, happy and prosperous people,” the message read.
This year’s service featured a special dance of praise choreographed by renowned dancer, Jackie Guy, and a tribute in song by the Willesden New Testament Gospel Choir with ‘We are Proud Jamaicans’, which was specially written for Emancipation Day by Noel Dexter. In addition, there was a special rendition of the National Pledge by children of staff and friends of the High Commission.
This year, the collection from the service will go to The Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation. Mrs. Lorna Golding, wife of the Prime Minister, established the Foundation. It was formed to assist the development and transformation of early childhood institutions in Jamaica.