Jamaicans in Tri-State Area Observe 45 Years of Independence


Rector of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Kingston, Rev. Canon Ernle Gordon has challenged Jamaicans overseas to, as part of the observance of the country’s independence, develop a new level of consciousness and self-definition.
Rev. Gordon, who was speaking at the annual Independence Anniversary Thanksgiving Church Service, which was held at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Queens, New York, recently, pointed out that independence is a journey and not an arrival. As such, he said, the process involves a new transformation of consciousness because, “we have allowed others to define us rather than having a self-definition of ourselves”. The large congregation was headed by Consul General to New York, Dr. Basil K. Bryan, United Nations Ambassador, Jean Bryan, His Excellency Raymond O. Wolfe, and Mrs. Wolfe. Rev. Gordon told the gathering that a true sense of the Jamaican community involves a healthy perception of self definition and that “it is inevitable that a new meaning of consciousness be developed, to redeem cultural heritage”. He said that it was his hope that Jamaica, as a nation will remain strong and resilient as its development advances, and that constituents in the Diaspora will continue to assist social programmes.
Dr. Bryan, who is also Chairman of the Jamaica Independence Anniversary Committee (JIAC), read a message from Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, and used the occasion to formally announce that this will be his last such service in an official capacity.
“I want to give thanks to all Jamaicans. I want to thank the staff at the (Jamaican) Consulate. It has been my honor to serve you as your Consul General (here) in New York (since 1998). My wife and I thank you all for your love and support and for your prayers over the years,” he said. Dr. Bryan was presented with a plaque for faithful and dedicated service to the Jamaican community by Camille McIntyre, wife of the Rev. Canon Calvin McIntyre, on behalf of the parishioners of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Bronx. The large turnout was treated to a selected repertoire of gospel standards led by the 50-voice Jamaica Independence Choir and performances by Hopeton Lewis, Michael Willoughby, and Claude Edwards.
The Annual Independence Anniversary Thanksgiving Church Service kicked off a schedule of twelve events, which will end on August 19, all in celebration of Jamaica’s 45th Anniversary of Independence, for Tri-State area Jamaicans.

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