San Fernando marked the start of its City Week celebration on Sunday with a service of thanksgiving at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church. Members of the Scout movement led a procession with the city’s mayor Junia Regrello and uniformed police in their white tunics, to the sanctuary of the church, where they were celebrated with music and prayers.
Selected members of the Scout group, who are also members of the Susamachar Presbyterian Steel Orchestra, blessed the audience with celebratory hymns on the pan, as did the band Celestial and the senior choir, with worship music.
The second Sunday service, which is usually reserved for baptism, also made a celebrity of baby Malayna Harrinanan, who posed for photographs with the mayor and council after her baptism.
Officiating minister Rev Kenrick Sooknarine, in his sermon, prayed to God to raise men and women of integrity to lead this nation. He also called on the Almighty to bless leaders with wisdom and vision.
He used the SWOT analysis method, which is an acronym for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,” to assess and plan the way forward for San Fernando, which is celebrating 29 years as a city and 172 years as a municipality, as well as the church, which is 150 years old.
He questioned the achievement of both institutions, saying there must be a transformative process to build for the next 40 years.
He told the mayor and deputy mayor Vidya Mungal-Bissessar, as well as CEO Indarjit Singh and members of the council and administration, they have to work on their weaknesses and build on their strengths for this transformative process to be successful.
He identified some of the strengths they can build on as music, the artistic and creative designers, scholarship winners, southern hospitality, caring for the poor and homeless, to be proactive in saving and documenting the city’s rich history and continuing to make the San Fernando Hill special.
He encouraged them to celebrate the past but not to dwell on past traditions as they look to the future as some new equipment would not be able to go in old buildings.
He noted, however, that while some people are fixing things, others are creating bottlenecks. “Like the pretty promenade with a set of old derelict cars taking up all the parking spaces around. We live in the city, but run from our civic duties and responsibilities. We all have to play our part in caring for the environment.”
“One of the problem is that we don’t like change very much. And let me include our church administration in this package too. We like to remain in the yesteryears, back in the 1900s. So we are doing some honest reflection today.
Most leaders resist change and improvements, especially when it means that some of our perks or benefits get cut out.”
“The prophet warns us that what we have is not yet perfect in the sight of God.
So wake up, stand, you’ve been sitting much too long. You have remained in the colonial eras of the 1800 and 1900 but we have now moved into the 2000s and the 2050s.”