As Vincentians celebrate their 42nd anniversary of political independence from Great Britain, a Vincentian pastor in Brooklyn is urging nationals to unite for nation-building.
Dr. Roxie Morris, a pastor at Miracle Temple Ministries, an evangelical church in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, said that “when individuals work together, they double their strength and get more done as a team, also creating harmony and not disorder.
“We are one, and we are strongest working together in unity,” said Dr. Morris in her homily during the virtual Independence Anniversary Church Service on Sunday, organized by the Brooklyn-based Vincentian umbrella group in the United States, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO).
“Teamwork is the key to living life in harmony, so that we can do God’s will,” she added, stating that she, particularly, likes the acronym for Team – “Together Each Achieves More.”
“It is said teamwork makes the dream work,” said Dr. Morris, alluding to Dr. Ruth Senyonyi of Uganda, in her public symposium address for the International Day of the Family, “Strengthen the family, Build a Nation.”
“If the work needs to be done anywhere, it needs to be done first in our homes,” Pastor Morris continued. “The state must also be cognizant of the impact that weak and fragile family structures have on current and future generations.
“I ask, what is a nation? The nation is the people not the land – just like the church is the body of believers not the building,” she added. “When everyone works together, according to their individual gifts, experience and skills, the building process is much faster, stronger and more stable, because the work does not rest on one or two particular persons.
“So, as a people, it is imperative that we work hard,” Pastor Morris urged. “Maintain a heart for the work. Do not stop building. Be persistent and know that it is a process. It takes time.”
She also urged nationals to be alert and watch for dangers.
“Be a watchman, because the enemy goes about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” said Dr. Morris, referring to 1 Peter 5:8. “Serve one another. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit. We have to learn to touch people effectively.”
Referencing Philippians 2:4, she said: “Do not merely look out for your own personal interest but also for the interests of others.”
Dr. Morris also mentioned Galatians 6:2 – “Bear one another’s burden, and, thereby, fulfill the law of Christ”; and Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.”
“Focus on the goal, avoid distractions in order to keep a clear focus,” she said. “No clear direction and a lack of commitment to a specific goal will cause distractions.
Dr. Morris said Nehemiah’s focus, in the Bible, was rebuilding the wall in ensuring that the city was protected.
“God gave the strategy and the plan,” she said. “All they had to do was implement the strategy and follow the plan.
“My challenge today is be consistent in prayer and press on in the task God has called you to do,” the pastor added, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Pray without ceasing. Remember that God is your protector. He never leaves us nor forsake us.
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute,” (Psalm 82:3),” she continued. “Know that by working together we can build a resilient and thriving nation.”
COSAGO President Laverne McDowald-Thompson reminded nationals in the Diaspora that when they decided to form their respective organizations, it was because they saw the needs of those “who are less fortunate than ourselves in our homeland.
“We saw their challenges and that of our nation,” she said. “I will continue to encourage you to always lend a hand to our homeland.
“Let’s stay connected to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help fight the challenges our people encounter,” McDowald-Thompson added. “With hope and our faith, God will see us through.”
Consul General to the United States Howie Prince said that nationals would agree that, in recent times, “the ship of State, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has gone through, and continues to go through, stormy paths and perilous times.
“But thanks to God, that, as a people, we are not defined by the number of times that extenuating circumstances and disasters knock us down, but rather by our special gifts, talents, resilience and resourcefulness that enable us to get back up, bounce back and rise gloriously from the ashes,” he said in his independence message.
“I loudly applaud the Vincy spirit, which shines through like a diamond when we see our countryman down.,” Prince added. “We become Good Samaritans and contribute in so many creative ways to aid the plight of those who suffer from the impacts of disasters.”
He pointed to “the most recent and visible case in point being the tremendous support that people in the USA provided to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the aftermath of the destructive eruptions of La Soufriere Volcano.
“The outpouring of love from Vincies in the USA and Friends of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was, indeed, a thing of beauty,” Prince said. “On behalf of a grateful people, I say, job well done. Thank you very much.”
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves said the 42nd anniversary of independence “finds us at perilous, uncertain cross-roads at which our lives, living and production have been convulsed and disrupted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) since March 2020 and the volcanic eruptions of April 2021.
“Our nation as a whole has taken a monumental beating from the twin calamities of the pandemic and the cataclysmic force of nature,” he said in his independence message. “Every single family in our blessed nation has suffered, though not in equal measure, from the slings and arrows of misfortune, not of our own making.
“The poor and sections of the working people, have endured real hardship, despite our efforts at amelioration,” Dr. Gonsalves said. “But things could have been worse. We thank God for His mercies and blessings even in our quite difficult situation.
“Still, the many-sided challenges before us, which touch and concern health, the economic, the social (including education), and security (HESS) will require herculean correctives,” he added.
“The disruption caused to the education of our children and young persons is quite painful, at the individual levels, and portends a festering danger for our society over the next five-to-10 years if it is not handled creatively and effectively by the principals, the teachers, the parents, the state, and the students themselves,” the Vincentian prime minister continued. “This matter is being accorded especial emphasis by the government.”