JIS News

Hundreds of Jamaican nationals and friends united in worship at the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale on August 1 to celebrate Jamaica’s anniversary of Emancipation and Independence, at the Ecumenical service of thanksgiving.
The service was organised by the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami.
Guest preacher, Dr. Samuel Vassel, Pastor of the Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene in New York, told the congregation of more than 1,000 that prayer was an option as Jamaicans and friends of the Diaspora gathered to celebrate the nation’s 48th anniversary of Independence.
In this time of reflection on the nation’s triumphs and also challenges, Dr. Vassel reminded his congregation that the Jamaican National Anthem was a “beautiful prayer” and should be sung from the heart in sync with God’s hope, and our actions for the betterment of the nation.
Using the theme for Independence “I Believe in Jamaica” – Dr. Vassel encouraged nationals to embrace the power of prayer with confidence, consciousness and in dialogue with God as a means of finding solutions for Jamaica’s challenges.
Dr. Vassel said that while there was a longing for home, those in the Diaspora “must establish yourselves with a purpose for living abroad.” In defining that purpose, he emphasised that the process should be engaged using the opportunities and available avenues for self-improvement, personal obligations, and in service to their communities.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange who was special guest in the South Florida anniversary celebrations saluted Jamaicans in the Diaspora as an integral part of ‘Brand Jamaica’ through their own contributions and achievements and as ambassadors in the United States.
The Minister also signaled the years of cordial friendship and cooperation between Jamaica and the United States, which she said has been a home for many Jamaicans over the years. She also stated that Jamaicans had in turn made a positive impact through the creation and engagement of opportunities in those communities.
Minister Grange mentioned plans for the nation’s 50th Anniversary of Independence in 2012, which would include a grand homecoming with all Jamaicans across the Diaspora having been invited to return home to celebrate a significant milestone in the nation’s history. “We want to see tributaries of Jamaicans streaming through the streets of Kingston as we herald another milestone in our lives,” the Minister said.
Minister Grange also read an Independence message from Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding.
The two-hour long service included recitals by the South Florida Caribbean Chorale, a 100-voice strong group of choristers from Jamaican populated congregations in the South Florida communities, led by Steve Higgins. The lyrics and rhythm of “Sweet Jamaica” aroused a feeling of nostalgia as persons shared in the gospel song performed by the Jamaica Folk Revue and the Tallawah Mento Band. The Sierra Norwood Calvary Church Cultural Group performed an outstanding rendition of song and dialect saluting developments in Jamaica’s culture and heritage.
Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, in her welcome remarks urged Jamaicans across the Diaspora to recommit their ideals and choose progress for Jamaica, our beloved homeland.
Highlighting the variety of events commemorating the celebration of the nation’s Independence, the Consul General expressed gratitude to the Diasporic community for “making the conscious choice of keeping Jamaica in your hearts even as you embrace the opportunities and strive to achieve the potential promised to you in the American Dream.”
She praised the community for the support given to the Jamaican Consulate over the years and indicated that as leaders, commitment, responsibility and accountability were crucial in the process required for national development.
Officiating Minister was the Reverend Dr. Raymond Anglin, Pastor of Ascension Peace Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, while the prayers for Jamaica and the United States were read by Reverend Dr. Alford Alphonse, Hospice rector, and Reverend Dr. Michael Curry of the Kendall Community Church of God, respectively.
The scripture lessons were read by the Reverend Horace D. Ward of the Holy Family Episcopal Church; Marlon Hill, Diaspora Advisory Board representative for the Southern USA; and Miss Shanice Cox, Miss Jamaica Florida 2010.
Proceeds of collections will benefit ministries of the Bronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene as well as the Jamaica Nutrition Island Network and the Jamaica Christian Boys’ Home.

Skip to content