On Sunday, September 24, 2017, the Kittitian and Benevolent Association (KABA) hosted its 34th edition of the St. Kitts and Nevis Independence Anniversary Church Service at the Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church in the Bronx, New York.
This year’s Independence Church Service was held under the theme, “A Vision for the Future.” The guest speaker for the evening was Pastor Pearl Richardson of the Word Enterprise Ministries.
The evening was a blend of praise, prayer, thanksgiving and fellowship that included the youth and reflected on those who have made the celebratory service possible by their unwavering commitment to the initiative year after year.
The KABA organizers collaborated with several New York based groups and sought to capture not just the essence of the theme, but also the role of nationals in the Diaspora at a time when fellow-nationals in the Caribbean are in the midst of a crisis, as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In fact, the evening’s Guest Speaker, Pastor Pearl Richardson, used her platform to remind worshippers that despite the challenges the Nations of the Caribbean are experiencing, we have to collectively rise to the occasion to assist in the long and challenging road to recovery. Pastor Richardson declared that, “In caring for others, our greatness as a people is measured.”
Khenya Bridgewater and Sherisma Liburd brought their youth, charm, and soul to this year’s thanksgiving service. Khenya sang Bob Marley’s prophetic and well renowned “Redemption Song,” while Sherisma rendered “Rise Up,” a moving and spirited song by Andra Day. Both were poignant as Bob Marley’s Redemption Song reminds nationals that the state of being independent begs for citizens to be empowered and move away from the things that hold them back. “Rise Up” is a timely reminder that despite the duress of our Caribbean people during the natural disasters brought about by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, their resilience and will to overcome is greater than the storms that destroyed their earthly possessions.
Steeped in the tradition of hosting the annual Church Service of Celebration, KABA also took the opportunity to reflect and honor the memory of one of its stalwarts, Ms. Helen Marcella Byron-Baker, who was an integral player in ensuring KABA hosted the event as seamlessly and respectfully as possible for 33 years. Heather Archibald penned a beautiful poem to Honor Byron-Baker’s memory, a copy of which was presented to her daughter Ms. Janeen Byron.
Permanent Representative of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations, Ambassador Sam Condor, offered brief remarks and expressed thanks to the KABA organization for its commitment to hosting the Independence Church service year after year. He commended the team for their hard work and reminded them that their sacrifice for country has not gone unnoticed. He declared his pleasure to commune one with another at a time when celebrations had to be halted at home in light of the hurricanes.
Foreign Minister of the Federal Government and Deputy Premier in the Nevis Island Administration, the Honorable Mark Brantley, took time out to share with nationals in the Diaspora and reminded them of their importance to national development. He also extended sincere thanks to ALL for attending the service and for working tirelessly to assist nationals at home and in the region whose lives have suddenly been changed because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Organizations participating in Sunday’s service included COMPAS, Inc., Nevisians for Nevis, New York St. Peter’s Alumni & Friends, Crawford Memorial UMC, Green Valley Global Inc., Hearts and Hands for Nevis, Nevis Scholarship Fund of New York, Sandy Pointers and Friends, as well as Sons and Daughters of St. Christopher.
Worshippers descended on the Church Hall to engage in fellowship and indulge in the delicious treats prepared for their enjoyment.
Trevor Bridgewater and his ILAN’BAN provided musical entertainment for the guests.
KABA expresses sincere thanks to everyone who took part in Sunday’sIndependence Service.