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The Past Re-imagined - St Ann Baptist church burned

Published:Saturday | September 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

A Baptist church in St Ann was yesterday gutted by fire. The police suspect that the fire was set by arsonists.

The incident has sparked anger and fuelled discontent among many Jamaicans.

"What would cause people to commit such an act?" asserted one furious self-styled abolitionist.

Others are reportedly angered by the alleged act of the iniquity on a sanctuary.

A reward has been offered for witnesses to come forward in a bid to bring the perpetrators to book.

With the partial abolition of slavery in effect, emotions ran high on both sides in the parish over the latest allegation of arson.

Over the past 20 years, the Baptist Church has been among the group of Christian organisations which have been at the vanguard of the anti-slavery movement.

The Baptists joined the other groups, such as the Quakers, who were early leaders in abolitionism, attacking slavery since the 1600s.

In 1787, the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed, with nine of the 12 founder members being Quakers.

William Wilberforce, an early supporter of the society, went on to push through the 1807 Slave Trade Act, striking a major blow against the transatlantic slave trade. Leaders of Methodism and Presbyterianism also vehemently denounced human bondage, convincing their congregations to do likewise.

Methodists subsequently made the repudiation of slavery a condition of membership.