Maryland church celebrating heritage on ‘Caribbean Sabbath’

Caribbean communities such as Washington, Atlanta, and New York have recognized Black History Month in the past decade. Noel Erskine, an expert on Caribbean theologies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, said this too! The worshippers, as they entered the sanctuary of the Metropolitan Seventh-day Adventist Church, doorman Percy Joseph did greet them with “Happy Sabbath,” his bright red Trinidad and Tobago T-shirt, which showed beneath his long black coat. The guest steel drum players started to play “Lift every voice and sing,” which gave a tune called the Black National anthem with a steady beat. This was stated to be reminiscent of the homelands of several congregants. Again, the matching and dancing flag bearers had processed the central aisle at first with the American flag and, after that, with the banners of Barbados to the Dominican Republic to Trinidad and Tobago. The third Saturday of Black History Month, when this church close to Maryland’s border with the District of Columbia, was “Caribbean Sabbath.”

Pastor expressing his enthusiasm on the congregants.

Pastor Trevor Kinlock showed great enthusiasm during the service when he greeted the congregation before the sermon. Kinlock said that the fellow congregants had Jamaican roots before they turned out to be a global celebration. Further, he said, “We’ve come to celebrate him, and we thank God for the beauty of our diversity as a people.” Kinlock then started using his time to emphasize how the black churches narrated the history of black people, including Americans like “Sister Harriet Tubman and Mother Sojourner Truth,” the latter of who had ties to Adventism. He then added others beyond the North American mainland, such as Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who led the Haitian Revolution that overthrew French soldiers, making the island the first nation in the Americas to end slavery, and the Jamaican hero “Queen Nanny,” the spiritual and military leader of formerly enslaved African people called Maroons, who used guerrilla warfare against British troops. The pastor said, “You ought to praise God — thank God for the example of our Haitian brothers and sisters.” He added, “Caribbean folk know how to act up.”

Kinlock about the global power

Kinlock began preaching in the Hebrew Bible text regarding the Prophet Elijah and said, “We need the radical spirit of Elijah that resists and challenges the social evils of our day.” He said, “We need to call down the fire on global corporate power that still exploits the people and resources in the Caribbean and Africa, extracting their wealth and leaving our people in poverty, We cannot keep silent, but we’ve got to speak out.”

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