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SVG Spiritual Baptists to mark freedom of worship


Spiritual Baptists here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will march from the Peace Memorial Hall area to Victoria Park on Sunday, 20th May to celebrate their freedom to worship. The march, which begins at 12:30 p.m., will culminate in a celebration service at the Victoria Park.{{more}}

This year’s celebration is organized by four Spiritual Baptist Assemblies: The Spiritual Baptist Organisation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; The Mt. Carmel Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese Inc.; The Mt. Halibeth Christian Church of the World Inc, Church of the Epiphany; and The Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Spiritual Baptist religion was outlawed by a Colonial Ordinance which came into effect on October 1, 1912, called “The Shakerism Prohibition Ordinance”.

On March 22, 1965, the Joshua-led Legislative Council passed Ordinance Number 7 of 1965 to remove the 1912 legal ban on the Baptists.

However, on May 21, 1951 an attempted prosecution of Spiritual Baptists in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court, in which the defendants were represented by the late Rt. Hon. R.M. Cato, failed for reasons shrouded in mystery and controversy, but Spiritual Baptists have celebrated that date as the effective date of their liberation although it is believed that Baptists were actually persecuted after that date.

The exact circumstances of the 1951 prosecution are yet to be definitely research and presented.

On March 28, 2002, however, the House of Assembly passed the Spiritual Baptists’ (Official Recognition of Freedom to Worship Day) Act, 2002 (Number 13 of 2002) which reads:

“The 21st day of May is declared to be the Spiritual Baptists’ Official Recognition of Freedom to Worship Day.”