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Educate and unite the Afro-centric religious faith

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Tue June 11, 2013

Editor: After slavery was abolished in the 1800’s, an Afro-centric religious faith emerged in SVG. The dominant religions in the state were the Roman Catholic, the Anglican (which broke away from the Roman Catholic) and the Methodist. By 1912, the British government, under the white governor’s leadership, outlawed the faith under the October 1912 “Shakerism Prohibition Ordinance”.{{more}}

The late George Mc Intosh tried hard to have the British government repeal the Shakerism Ordinance in the 1930’s and 50’s, but it was the late Ebenezer Joshua, who as the first black Chief Minister, stopped the police from persecuting the Shaker Converts, and by 1951, the Shakerism Ordinance was repealed.

In 1951, the Council of Concerts met at the Calder Church in a meeting to select a registered name and the late Leon Samuel suggested the name “Christian Pilgrim Faith”, with all Council members in agreement.

That name was presented to the Governor in Council who approved and declared the Christian Pilgrim Faith a religious denomination within the meaning of section 2 of the marriage Ordinance, cap 151 of the revised laws of St Vincent.

After the 1912 outlawment, some members went to Trinidad, and by 1917, they too were outlawed there under the Shouter Prohibition Ordinance, but regained this freedom under the leadership of the late Dr Eric Williams and registered as Spiritual Baptists in Trinidad.

In 1978, the late Japheth Stapleton of Rose Hall, on returning from Trinidad, established that the first Spiritual Baptist group under Act No.16 of 1978 – Spiritual Baptist Organisation.

The late Dufff Walker James made a split in the Christian Pilgrim Faith and formed the Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese in 1983 under Act No. 10 of 1983.

There are few other Trinidad based Baptist groups in SVG. Sometime in 2000/01, an attempt was made to unite these factions, by the faith. All of the factions came together and celebrated 50 years of freedom to worship. During the celebration in 2002, one faction went to the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex and the other to Belmont and both were visited by Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves on the same day.

To this day, the division is wider with Christian Pilgrim going to parliament and getting incorporation – moving toward the total human development of its members and others. Why can’t the learned P.R Campbell, who is a leader of the Archdiocese, educate and unite that Afro-centric religious Faith?

Their first bishop of the Archdiocese, the late Cosmore Pompey said that whether they change to Spiritual Baptist, they are still Christian Pilgrim – that not many Spiritual Baptists know that.

The Christian Pilgrim celebrated 62 years since they (converted) regained their freedom to worship with an anniversary service on May 26.

The Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese also celebrated 30 years of their existence on the same time and date.

The learned P.R. Campbell needs to do something to educate and unite that Afro-centric religious Faith rather than making announcements on his tv programme.

A Spiritual Watchman

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