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Senior pastor at the Faith Sanctuary Pentecostal Church, in Toronto, Reverend Granville McKenzie, has emphasised that Jamaica has much to be proud of, and is more than just a land mass distinguished by its natural beauty and natural resources, mountains, rivers, trees and climate.
“Jamaica can also be proud of the achievements of its people, who are pacesetters,” said Rev. McKenzie, as he delivered the sermon at the Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the country’s 47th year of Independence, held on August 2, at the church.
He said there have been many accomplishments by Jamaicans throughout history, which have caused persons to believe in Jamaica and the people of Jamaica, such as the National Heroes.
Rev. McKenzie cited persons, such as sprinter, Usain Bolt, and his achievements at the 2008 Beijing Olympics; Professor Rex Nettleford, former Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and founder of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC); and pilot, Barrington Irving, who became the youngest person to fly solo around the world.
“These are Jamaicans who have made contributions to the world and have gone beyond the norm and caused others to believe in the potential of the people of Jamaica,” he said.
Elaborating on this year’s Independence theme, ‘I Believe in Jamaica’, Rev. McKenzie asked the question: “What is it about Jamaica that should command our faith, our trust and our respect?”

The Charles Town Maroons from Portland performing at the Thanksgiving Service, held at the Faith Sanctuary Church in Toronto, Canada, to commemorate Jamaica’s 47th year of Independence.

He said the fact that Jamaica is listed as the country with the most churches per square mile and that the National Anthem is a prayer, meant that Jamaicans believe in God. “We invite Him into our country and into everything that we do. So, it is not that I believe in Jamaica. I believe in Jamaica’s God. When I think of Jamaica and believing in Jamaica, it really hinges on the fact that we will be great as long as we believe in God,” he added.
The two-hour long service was marked by much singing and drumming. The Charles Town Maroon Drummers, who are in Canada to take part in Emancipation/Independence celebrations in Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax, entertained with three pieces – ‘Nanny O,’ ‘Gone Oh Me Gone’ and ‘Yah Yah Kempo’. The leader of the group, Colonel Frank Lumsden, explained that the last song was rebuking the devil from God’s business.
Jamaica’s Consul-General to Toronto, Miss Anne-Marie Bonner, read a message from Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
The Prime Minister said the current global financial crisis has placed many countries in a precarious position, including Jamaica. Thanking members of the Diaspora for their contributions to the country, Mr. Golding urged that their commitment be further strengthened during this time.
“No longer can any of us stand by the wayside and expect our country to emerge from this crisis victorious. Our forefathers strived courageously to attain our nation’s independence and we must be adamant in preserving this legacy,” he said.
The service featured many young participants, including the Philadelphia Patriots Pathfinders group, who marched into the church with the Canadian and Jamaican flags; saxophonist, Rayandra Hudson; John-Paul Smith, who read the scripture lesson; and teenaged brothers, Yanick and Rashaan Allwood, who lead the congregation with the singing of the national anthems of both countries.
Proceeds from this year’s church service will be donated to two basic schools in St. Catherine – Portsmouth Basic School in Portmore and Marl Road Basic School, in Gordon Pen.

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