Pass on traditions to build nation, says pastor
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU: THE REVEREND Dr Davewin Thomas of Burchell Baptist Church on Sunday urged Jamaicans to pass on to their children the traditions of the nation's forefathers during a thanksgiving service to mark the start of the country's annual Heritage Week celebrations.
Speaking under the theme 'My Expressions, My Traditions, My Jamaica', Reverend Thomas said the building of a prosperous nation involves passing on positive empowerment to its citizens, and for parents to teach their children the history and traditions of past generations.
"We have some kinds of expressions sometimes, 'you're an idiot' and 'you have no sense'. We're not sure those are the kinds of expressions we want to tell people, that will dehumanise and bring down," said Reverend Thomas. "We want expressions that are uplifting, empowering and enabling. We want traditions that will give people the requisite inspiration to say 'I can, I will and it can be done'."
"Building a prosperous nation involves the didactic, and by that, we mean the educational, the instructive, the edifying... whatever the traditions were, teach them to your children," Reverend Thomas added. "Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and make sure that these things are well entrenched in the hearts and minds of your children."
Reverend Thomas also said Jamaica is in need of people who will especially uphold the religious traditions which have been passed down through the generations.
"Building a prosperous nation involves the divine. We have inherited a godly tradition, and Jamaicans are a God-fearing people. We need godly people, godly men and women to write our laws, not laws that destroy the godly heritage that we have."
Sunday's church service was held in collaboration with the St James Parish Council and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission as part of the week of activities for this year's Heritage Week celebration.
During the service, 12 residents of St James were recognised for their outstanding service in development of the parish. The twelve awardees included:
Adrian Frater, of The Gleaner, for his contributions to journalism.
Beverly Clarke, for her contributions to agriculture.
Joy Crooks, for philanthropy.
Desmond Flowers, for engineering and construction.
Alva Gordon, for sports.
Roy Graham, for photography.
Colin Issacs, for contributing to funeral services.
Neil Johnson, for contributing to transportation.
Oswald Martin, for entrepreneurship.
Reverend Garnet Neathly, for religion.
Herbert Vassell, for contributing to the baking industry.
James Lloyd Whinstanley, for education.