A popular Vincentian-born singing evangelist two Saturdays ago mesmerized enthusiastic patrons at a fundraising Prayer Breakfast, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, aimed at assisting nationals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
LaFleur Durrant, the lone featured artist, set the house on fire and brought it down with heart-wrenching gospel songs during the 8th Annual Fundraising Prayer Breakfast of the Bronx-based church, St. Matthias Charities, Inc.
The sell-out audience left after the four-hour-plus-long event with not only good food for the body but spiritual food for the soul.
Durrant — a youth leader at her father’s, Cecil Durrant, church, Bethany Deliverance Church of God, on Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn — teased patrons mid-way through the Prayer Breakfast.
She belched out “Hold My Hands,” “Look to the Father,” “Sweet Name,” “In the Sweet,” “The Lord Will Make a Way,” “In the Cross” and “I Sing Hallelujah”.
After the mouth-watering, sumptuous meal — comprising, among others, Vincentian delicacies, such as saltfish and breadfruit, smoked herring, tri-tri cakes, and fried jack fish and ballahoo — she brought the house down with “I Am Your Child” “I Will Not Be Denied,” and “Stumble and Fall.”
“Look to the Father,” “I Sing Hallelujah” and “I Am Your Child” were written and produced by Allan “Tom” Doyle, owner and producer of San Souci Studio in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. Doyle were among patrons reveling in Durrant’s performance.
“It was a very exciting experience being among Vincentian people,” Durrant told Caribbean Life afterwards. “It’s always great to feel at home. I felt the warmth and the love coming from the audience.”
Durrant said she migrated to New York at what she described as “a young age” and “began a new chapter” in her life.
She said she faced many challenges, but, with God’s grace, she overcame them.
She also disclosed that she won “the fight with cancer” and has dedicated her life to “ministering the gospel through singing and music.”
“To God be the glory for His grace and favor!” Durrant exclaimed.
Gospel buffs can hear and see more of Durrant, as she evangelizes in song, on Dec. 7, during her church’s Holiday Fundraising Dinner, at Trinity Apostolic Banquet Hall, 1807 Pacific St., between Schenectady and Utica avenues, Brooklyn.
Bishop Merton Cumberbatch, the Vincentian-born pastor of St. Anthony’s Divine Church of Healing in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, brought the word at the Prayer Breakfast, urging patrons to “Stop Hiding and Arise.”
“I believe there’s a purpose why God sent you here this morning,” he preached. “I don’t want you to leave without God having a purpose in your life.
“So, make a change,” he added. “Arise and know that God is able. He’s able to make a way out of no way. Arise this morning!”
Pastor Simeon King, of the Mission of God Ministries in Brooklyn, also prayed for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and patrons’ adopted country, the United States of America.
The Prayer Breakfast brought together not only Vincentians but nationals from other Caribbean islands including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, the Bahamas, Grenada, St. Lucia, Aruba, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Neaka Isaacs, the Jamaican-born director of communications in the Ministry of Health in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, applauded St. Matthias Charities, Inc., for its missions to the nation.
Isaacs, who is married to a Vincentian and had just returned from Taiwan, said she could not miss the event for anything.
Vincentian Pastor Robert McBarnett, founder and president of St. Matthias Charities, Inc., said all proceeds from the Prayer Breakfast go towards helping his compatriots.
“We believe every hospital in St. Vincent and the Grenadines must have an EKG machine,” he said, stating that his philanthropic group, since 2012, has furnished medical and other supplies to hospitals, clinics and the wider community in his native land.
“From 2012 to now, we brought in 11, 40-ft. containers (of supplies) to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he added, as he appealed to patrons for financial contributions to purchase more EKG machines.
Patrons instantly obliged, donating $656.41.
Earlier this year, the St. Matthias Charities, Inc. distributed medical and other supplies not only to St. Vincent and the Grenadines but also to neighboring Grenada.
Pastor McBarnett said his organization plans to spread its mission by extending to other Caribbean islands, such as Jamaica.
In April 2020, he said the St. Matthias Charities, Inc. will hold another fundraising event – the Annual Dinner – at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, 671 Prospect Pl., Brooklyn.