Caribbean looks to religion for spiritual help

first_img Share Share Sharing is caring! Share Tweetcenter_img FaithLifestyleLocalNews Caribbean looks to religion for spiritual help by: – February 17, 2014 87 Views   no discussions ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Monday February 17, 2014, CMC – Caribbean religious and political figures met here on Sunday for a three-hour regional inter-faith service ahead of a forum on Monday that they hope would help formulate a strategic plan for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).They are also hoping that the event would begin a process among Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) within the region aimed at transforming the social fabric of the Community.Host Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, who spearheaded the initiative for the regional inter faith conference, told the congregation at the St. John’s Pentecostal Church that he was certain that the Lord “has brought us here and forum was an historic occasion (and) we start off by worshipping together”.He described the one-day forum on Monday as “a very important event” that would place religion at “the future of this region”.CARICOM chairman and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said religion played an important role in the life of Caribbean people.“The Caribbean nations are founded in the supremacy of God and we are here today to re-affirm the fact that we are founded in the supremacy of God,” he said, adding there was nothing more joyous “to hear our people in the Caribbean in praise of our God and Saviour.Gonsalves told the congregation that the Caribbean is awash with several religious persuasions and values “but whatever the bundle of belief, we in our region worship with a Caribbean particularity with a joy.“There is absolutely no celebration in the world that gives as much joy,” he said, adding “it is easy for us to celebrate inter faith (but) what we have to do is go beyond and celebrate with meaningful love for without it, faith if meaningless”.Gonsalves said that given the number of religious faiths in the Caribbean it was also important to resolve whatever differences that may arise “and let us not fight one another”.He also took the opportunity to remember Haitians residing in the Dominican Republic who are likely o be affected by a Constitutional Court ruling last September that could render those of Haitians stateless.General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC), Gerard Granado said his membership consisting of 33 churches in 32 countries was committed to the forum “because as people of faith we know God is a God of possibilities”.But he warned that the event would “not be a walk in the park” and urged representatives of all faiths to have respect for each other’s beliefs.He said the forum should also set the stage for regional countries keeping developmental issues such as human resource and poverty alive, saying it also calls “for a love that is patience and a dialogue hubled with respect for each other”.Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of National Diversification and Social Integration, Dr. Rodger Samuel said the forum is a manifestation of God’s work in showing that people of different races, creed and religion could come together and seek his guidance in their future.He said the Caribbean was the only place in the world where people of different races can live together and are not involved in ethnic cleansing and religious wars.Samuel said that while in the past Caribbean countries have ooked to the churches to see what role they can play in development of society, it was important now for a reversal and governments to understand the will of God.“God is using our region as the tip of the arrow to ensure that this region will set standards so tohers will follow,” he added.The organizers said the conference here on Monday coming ahead of the 24th Inter-Sessional Summit in St. Vincent and the Grenadinesis to reignite the spirit of fellowship among the Community’s religious leaders.They said it is also aimed at developing a framework for a regional consultative process to facilitate appropriate engagement of FBOs in the decision-making process in the Community. The religious and political representatives are also hoping the conference will provide an to discuss the formation of an organisation to tackle hunger and poverty across the CaribbeanBy Peter RichardsCaribbean Media Corporationlast_img