Baptists in Jamaica put on a cultural and culinary display to welcome participants at the Baptist World Alliance® (BWA) Annual Gathering from July 1-6.
The more than 400 Baptists from 40 countries traveled to the Roaring River Great House where they were treated to authentic Jamaican cuisine and folk and contemporary music and dance performances by the Baptist-owned William Knibb Memorial High School, the Bethel Baptist Church Steel Band and the Jamaica Youth Chorale.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Jamaica’s head of state, welcomed the BWA delegation and commended Jamaican Baptists for their long history of commitment to freedom and nation building. He and head of government, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, whose message was read by government minister Natalie Neita-Headley, noted that three of Jamaica’s seven National Heroes were Baptists.
Allen and Simpson Miller commended BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, a Jamaican, on his leadership of the international umbrella Baptist organization. Callam is the first person from the Caribbean to lead a Christian world communion.
Simpson Miller encouraged Baptists to continue their role in having an impact on the lives of Jamaicans, especially through education and moral influence.
Other church and civic leaders were present at the welcoming event, including the president and general secretary of the Jamaica Council of Churches, Everald Galbraith and Gary Harriot, respectively; Anglican Lord Bishop of Jamaica Howard Gregory; Custos Rotulorum of St. Ann Radcliffe Walters; and Mayor of St. Ann’ Bay Desmond Gilmore.
The international group of Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives are in the town of Ocho Rios for worship, fellowship, study, theological reflection and decision meetings.
Baptist World Alliance®
© July 3, 2013