Anglican Bishop of Jamaica at Alter
By: Derrick A Scott
Scores of Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica from Philadelphia, Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, as well as members of the diplomatic corps, headed by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie and Mrs. Lisa Vasciannie packed the chapel of the Howard University Law School at a service of thanksgiving to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th year of independence.
During the service of thanksgiving Ambassador Vasciannie read Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s Independence Message. The Prime Minister called on Jamaicans everywhere to make this extraordinary Golden Jubilee anniversary milestone “a time of renewal and commitment; a time to forge ahead, strengthen relations and help build our beloved country into the place we all want it to be – a country where we can live, work, raise our families, do business, and retire to.”
During his message, the Ambassador cited the theme for this year’s independence commemoration, stating that, for “Jamaica – A Nation on a Mission,” these are, indeed, exciting times. He pointed out that “half a century of Jamaican nationhood is an extraordinary achievement,” and that it is at times like this, “a Golden Jubilee that Jamaicans worldwide have every right to celebrate with gusto.”
Ambassador Vasciannie in his first public address to the Diaspora since assuming office pointed to the legacy that Jamaicans have built together since gaining independence on August 6, 1962. He said this has allowed us to embrace our legacy and take full responsibility for our destiny, our hopes and our dreams.” He thanked his compatriots in the Diaspora for their unwavering support and steadfast commitment to nation building, particularly through the many successful missions and projects in the key areas of health and education.
In delivering the independence message, Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and Grand Cayman, the Right Reverend Dr. Howard Gregory invoked the Old Testament prophet Haggai. He said that as persons of faith and patriotism, if we are to lay any claim to the promise of hope and blessing for the next fifty years, we must be challenged towards “a much deeper and personal dedication of self.
The Rev. Dr. Gregory expressed the hope and prayer that, in observance of this 50 year milestone as a nation, we will heed the prophet’s call and challenge to focus more on the orientation and values which are symbolized by the Temple of the Lord versus those things that represent the “paneled houses” – to which Haggai referred.
Among the many that joined in at the church service to salute Jamaica’s Golden Jubilee, were members of the diplomatic corps as well as leaders in the Jamaican and Caribbean Diaspora. The scripture lessons were read by Maryland House of Delegates member Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Jamaica’s Honorary Consul in Richmond, Virginia Beryl Walters-Riley and Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United States, His Excellency, Dr. Neil Parson. Celebrated Jamaican soprano Dawn-Marie Virtue offered some Jamaican selections, with other musical offerings from performing artist Under the Lord (PAUL), among others.
Rev. Dr. Bertram Melbourne, of Howard University’s School of Divinity, presided along with Rev. Sylvia McDonald Kaufman. The offerings collected at the service were dedicated to three charities: the Jamaica Christian Boys’ Home, FAMPLAN, and Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust.
The church service is one of many activities planned by the Embassy of Jamaica to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th year of independence.
Photo Caption 1
The Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and Grand Cayman, the Right Reverend Dr. Howard Gregory, delivers the sermon at a service if thanksgiving to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th year of independence at the Howard University Law School Dumbarton Chapel in Washington DC.
Embassy of Jamaica