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Adventists launch festival for religious freedom

Published:Thursday | November 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM
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Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:With talks of the unification of religious bodies becoming more frequent, members of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) community are putting talks to action with the staging of a 'Festival of Religious Freedom'.

The launch of the festival was conducted at a SDA Leader's Conference held at the Mandeville SDA Church on Monday, and sought to sensitise those present on the need for establishing and maintaining relationships with other religious groups as well as give a global view on religious liberty.

General secretary for the International Religious Liberty Association and presenter, John Graz, stated that this move comes at a time when segregation needs to end.

"We want to send a message that we love religious freedom and we want to keep it. We want this festival to reinforce the support for religious freedom and show solidarity to those who have been persecuted around the world," he said.

With past efforts to end segregation by different religious bodies causing conflict, Graz said a different mentality is needed to ensure its success.

"We can have different religions, different ways of thinking. We can work together to support the right of people to have their own conviction and to choose their religion according to their conscience ... . I believe we can believe in something different and still be able to work together for a good of a country instead of fighting," added Graz.

Religious liberty director at the Jamaica Union for Seventh-day Adventists, Nigel Coke, said the staging will be held January 24, 2015, at the National Arena and will seek to draw religious leaders from local and international spheres.