A plea for unity - GG and Baptist president call for an end to divisiveness in the Christian community and the political arena
The Church and State were on one accord last Sunday morning when the Head of State, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, and president of the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) Michael Shim-Hue echoed similar calls for denominational and political leaders to end disunity and start working together for the good of Jamaica.
Sir Patrick brought greetings to the 165th General Assembly and 4th Believers Convention of the JBU at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, during its closing ceremony.
The governor general mentioned his recent initiative to bring denominations together in a bid to find ways in which they could pool their human and material resources to help resolve Jamaica's socio-economic problems.
He explained that the initiative was prompted by his firm belief that it was, "high time that we stop being so divided by doctrinal differences that we cannot work together for the good of Jamaica".
Sir Patrick commended the JBU on its choice of theme that had guided the union for the past year, 'Being God's People in God's World, Living by Faith', and argued that it was, "a theme of enduring relevance, especially in the context of the erosion of values in our society and the impact of mounting secular influences."
He said the Church could no longer assume that the majority were embracing the Christian faith, therefore the Church needs to encourage each other to live as salt and light, setting examples of love, decency, responsibility, integrity and other values.
"Your example, rather than countless sermons, might just be what leads someone to Christ," said Sir Patrick.
In the meantime, Shim-Hue declared that only unwavering faith in God could break the several strongholds of social challenges that threatened to destroy the country.
He itemised disunity, material and mental poverty, violence against women, human trafficking and religion as being among the strongholds.
Shim-Hue exhorted Christians to be alert to those strongholds that created division, noting that it was faith that would discern and discriminate against these strongholds.
WAKE UP, JAMAICA
The JBU president exhorted his congregants to wake up and stop being simplistic and naive to the instruments of division. In the same breath, he challenged the Jamaica Labour Party to get rid of the stronghold of divisiveness because Jamaica needs a strong and solid opposition.
Shim-Hue also challenged the governing People's National Party to step up its act, "because the country needed effective leadership".
He warned that if both parties did not change their game and dispense with the tribalism, God would cause them to "depart from this country".
Shim-Hue further encouraged the Church not to "worry about those who try to make headlines at its expense but to continue to provide an exemplary alternative lifestyle which epitomised their firm faith in God".