2005 Jamaican Diaspora Day of Prayer and Fasting

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Rev. Newton Gabbidon

Rev. N. Gabbidon

There has been a growing concern among Jamaicans residing in Canada, the United Kingdom and here in the United States about the escalating crime wave in Jamaica, which now poses a serious risk to the social and economic security of the nation. Of particular concern has been the unusually high number of murders committed on the island each year, causing Jamaica recently to be ranked third amongst violent nations with the highest murder rates in the world. The murder rate, which now averages approximately 140 murders per month, has been a matter of national concern since the mid 1970s when it began spiraling out of control and it has raised the question recently by many, including Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, Minister of Justice, as to whether the nation is going through a state of anarchy. Others have gone further in support of the notion that Jamaica has become a failed state.

Whatever the factors behind Jamaica’s spiraling crime rate might be there is no question that the nation is now reaping the consequences of its advanced state of moral decadence, a problem for which there is only one solution: REVIVAL, which, historically, has taken place in decadent nations as a direct result of the humble united prayers of God’s people. Examples of past revivals include the 18th century Wesleyan revival, which had an astounding impact spiritually, socially and economically on Western civilization and the Welsh Revival of 1904, which is remembered particularly for its great social impact on this society, which prior to the revival was overrun by crime, drunkenness and sexual immorality.

It was in recognition of this fact that a few members of the Jamaican clergy from New York first came together in 2004 and conceived the plan calling for a day of prayer and fasting for Jamaica among members of the Jamaican community in the New York area. Building on the success of the 2004 event the call for a day of prayer and fasting among Christians in the Jamaican Diaspora was again issued in 2005 to be held on August 6, Jamaica’s 43rd independence anniversary. This time the call was was extended to the tri state.

Day of Prayer and Fasting For Jamaica, A Memorable Event

A number of churches opened their doors on August 6 throughout the tri state from 10 AM to 5:00 PM to facilitate Jamaican Christians wishing to participate in the day of prayer and fasting. At a number of the centers it was reported that a steady flow of persons showed up to pray throughout the day. To culminate the day’s event services were held at the following locations:

BrooklynRehoboth Open Bible Church

5102 Avenue D

Brooklyn, NY 11203

Pastor: Rev. Dr. H. Dennis Campbell

BronxBronx Bethany Church of the Nazarene

971 East 227 Street

Bronx, NY 10466

Pastor: Rev. Dr. Samuel Vassel

Long IslandHempstead Assembly of God

656 Front Street

Hempstead NY 11550

Rev. Richard Brockway

New Jersey Elim Missionary Church

12 – 18 North 5th Street

Patterson, NJ 07522

Pastor: Rev. Andrew Bennett

New Jersey Roseville United Methodist Church

400 Main Street

East Orange, NJ

Pastor: Rev. Andrew Bennett

ConnecticutFaith Light House Baptist Church

50 Lexington Avenue

South Norwalk, CT 06854

Pastor: Rev. E. Cook

The services, which started at 6:00 PM at most locations, averaged approximately 50 persons from various denominations. The mood in most places was somber reflecting the deep concerns that existed among participants about the high murder rate on the island. The program, which lasted two and a half hours and was similar at all locations, included singing, brief moments of reflections and prayer for Jamaica led by members of the clergy.

At the Roseville United Methodist Church in East Orange, New Jersey, which hosted a service from 9:00AM to 12 noon over 25 persons were in attendance, including the host pastor, Rev. George Fredricks, Rev. Dr. Alfred Johnson and Dr. Leon Dick, a member of The Caribbean Medical Missions team, who presided and led the the time of prayer for Jamaica based on the following four areas of concerns, which formed the focus for the Day of Prayer :

(i) crime and violence, (ii) church and national witness, (iii) the economy

(iv) social and civil issues.

The Day of Prayer and Fasting in the Diaspora was only one of the many events held in commemoration of Jamaica’s 43rd Independence throughout the tri-state, which may have resulted in the much lower than expected attendance at the prayer services. On a whole, however, the event was generally viewed as a highly successful one.

Supporting A Jamaican Charity

An offering was taken up at some locations for the Jamaican charity, Coalition in Support of Adolescent Leadership Training (CSALT) a school based mentoring program designed to serve at-risk Jamaican boys and their families. The program has been in existence since 2002 and is led by Gleaner Columnist, Psychologist and family counselor, Dr. Sydney McGill.

The Day of Prayer and Fasting For Jamaica, An Annual Event

There is a desire to see the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Jamaica hosted annually to include all areas of the Diaspora, an idea that will be be considered by the committee. Please check our web site for developments regarding this event and other regular news updates about Jamaica.

The event was jointly sponsored by Intercessory Prayer Ministry International and members of the clergy in the Diaspora. The planning committee included Rev. Dr. Samuel Vassel, Rev. Andrew Bennett, Rev. Dr. H. Dennis Campbell, Rev. Newton Gabbidon and Mrs. June Webb (Secretary)

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