Different Beliefs – Joint Prayers – Ecumenism Alive
As we usher in Holy Week 2015 with observance of Palm Sunday, three local congregations joined together for prayer, praise and worship of the one God in whom belief is shared. Bordering on the scripture verse from the Gospel of John 17:21, “…that all of them may be one Father, just as you are in Me and I am in you…” a decent representation from the Methodist, Anglican and Catholic communities sought to attend to Christ’s prayerful request on Sunday 29th March, 2015.
The Ecumenical service began with a procession from the Methodist Church grounds to the Anglican Church where the faithful waved branches, and palms in response to songs of praise and worship. Once the congregation settled in the Anglican Chapel, appropriate songs, prayers of the faithful and warm greetings transpired. Parish Priest of St. John and St. Louis, Father Herman Sharplis who chaired the service highlighted how vital it is for Christians to get together in worship stating that “We will all be together in heaven regardless of our religious affiliations, since we share the same Christ.”
One of the major highlights of the gathering was a salient and solemn homily presented by Methodist Minister Reverend Mervyn Austin, which evoked deep reflection from the almost stunned and extremely attentive congregants. Rev. Austin began with the question “Is there anything you own that does not belong to God?” This question fell like a bomb unto the eardrums of all the listeners. He then deliberated on the Gospel of Mark 11: 1-10 which speaks of the request of Jesus to utilize a donkey owned by someone else. The Reverend urged his listeners to remember that God is in need of Us for His service, as if reiterating St. Paul’s words in 1st Corinthians 6:19-20, “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price…”
He urged all present to utilize money, talents and gifts, and time for the things and Glory of Almighty God, and spared not the faithful with the reminder that “too many people love the blessings while they reject the Blesser.” There is no doubt, the message was well received.
To close up the evening, Anglican representative Mr. Joel St. Rose who is also the Vice President of the Dominica Christian Council offered both a closing prayer and closing remarks. He emphasized the desire of the Christian Council to continue promotion of such ecumenical events since they foster peace, unity and healing as required in our nation.
The Town of Portsmouth should feel fortunate and must relish such events since there are many concerns that such gatherings can seek to attend to, complementary to the prayers and interactions. The frequency of such events must be promoted while greater participation and increased attendance are essential to sustain the quest of the Dominica Christian Council, and to essentially meet the mandate of Jesus Christ.