Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Electrifying welcome for Ja's first female Baptist Union president

Published:Monday | February 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
President of the Jamaica Baptist Union the Reverend Karen Kirlew speaks after she was installed at the Jamaica Baptist Union General Assembly service held at the National Arena yesterday.

Electrifying applause echoed inside a packed National Arena in St Andrew yesterday to officially welcome the Reverend Karen Kirlew as the first female president of the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU).

The occasion was the 168th general assembly of the JBU.

Outgoing JBU president the Reverend Devon Dick said that never before had he seen such excitement for an incoming president.

But despite the excitement and apparent strong support for Kirlew, some persons, including controversial United States Baptist minister Steven Anderson, have expressed disapproval at women serving in leadership roles in the Church.

Jumping to the defence of Kirlew's appointment, Reverend Eron Henry, while delivering his sermon at the general assembly yesterday, pointed to examples of persons in biblical history who were not popular among the masses but had been chosen by God.

"This is a historic day. The Bible and history are filled with unheralded persons who others regarded as weak, unimpressive, and of minimal abilities and status being used by God to achieve great things. Moses was a fugitive and exile, hiding out in the hills, and God (led him) to rescue a people and form a nation. Rahab was a temple prostitute but recognised that there was a people needing help, and so she helped the Jews obtain a great victory. In the New Testament, Mary, a teenage peasant girl, was called by God to be mother of the Christ," he said.

"Reverend Kirlew, it should not have been you, but it is you, and no one can take that from you. God's call is on your life," he said.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com