TORONTO — Jamaicans are being urged to take up the baton of nation building left by the country's forefathers.
The charge came from Jamaican-born Senior Pastor of the Victory Sanctuary of Praise in Canada, Rev. Dr. William Lee, who was delivering the sermon at the annual Independence Church Service, held at Faith Sanctuary Pentecostal Church in Toronto on Sunday July 31, to commemorate Jamaica's 49th year of independence.
Rev. Lee, who hails from the parish of Hanover, said this year's Independence theme: ‘The Journey Continues,’ is very appropriate because our forefathers passed on the baton and so the journey continues.
He said the national heroes were unwavering in their commitment to create an atmosphere of love, peace and brotherhood for all Jamaicans and they also made it possible for equal opportunities for all Jamaicans, regardless of education, colour or status.
He implored the congregation not to let down the next generation but to carry on the legacy.
“Jamaica is a land of beauty and prosperity; a land which all of us should be proud of. I call upon you to remember the responsibilities we have to the next generation. We need to pass on the baton of love, peace and brotherhood to them. The onus is on us. They need vision and stability. We need to make sure to keep the torch burning and not let it go out. We come from good stock, from good roots. Let us stand up and be proud of who we are. The journey continues,” he stated.
Other participating clergy included Rev. Granville McKenzie of Faith Sanctuary; Rev. Rosenda James of Revivaltime Tabernacle; Rev. Barbara Lindsay of Grace Restoration International Ministries; and Rev. Aldith Baker of St. Hugh and St. Edmund Anglican Church.
Jamaica's High Commissioner to Canada, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, read Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding’s Emancipation Day Message.
A rousing rendition of “Let Freedom Ring” was performed by Pastor Winston Hurlock, while all-male group, Just As I Am, sang the Negro Spiritual, “Wade in the Water”. Faith Sanctuary Choir delivered “Moving Forward”; and gospel sensation Donnett Thompson-Hall performed a medley of songs, including “Down By The Riverside”, “Meet Me By The River”, and “Fly Away”.
Proceeds from the service will go to the Stimulation Plus Child Development Centre, a basic school in Kingston for children with disabilities. The Toronto-based Independent United Order of Solomon has also pledged to donate a wheelchair and two walkers to the school.
Among those in attendance were Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan; Regional Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board, Sandra Scott; President of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA), Audrey Campbell; and Guyana’s Acting Consul General, Sattie Sawh.
By CAROLYN GOULBOURNE-WARREN, JIS Reporter