TWO of the major Baptist groups – the National Congress of Incorporated Spiritual Baptists Organisations of TT (NCOISBTT) and the Spiritual Baptists Council of Elders – are scheduled to host activities today, at Eddie Hart Savannah, Tacarigua and Maloney Empowerment Hall, Maloney, respectively.
Spiritual/Shouter Baptist Liberation Day is a national holiday observed on March 30. But this year, the holiday coincides with Good Friday, a Christian observance.
Episkopus Archbishop Barbara Gray Burke, leader of the Council of Elders, told Newsday some Baptists have opted to host their celebrations today, as opposed to yesterday, to accommodate groups who have planned processions to re-enact the death of Jesus Christ.
“Baptists have different units and some of them are having the Way of the Cross and processions. So we are making room for that,” she told Newsday, denying there was contention in the Baptist faith over the issue.
Gray Burke said the Council of Elders’ celebration, titled Jonah Third Chapter (Verse 1-5), commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Shouter Prohibition Ordinance, which prevented Baptists from exercising their faith. It is expected to begin at 10 am.
She said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and other government officials have been invited to the celebration. However, Gray-Burke said she had not received an official response.
She said a several foreign-based Baptist leaders are expected to attend, including Archbishops Myrtle Bristol and Ingrid Bramble from Maryland and New York, respectively.
King Shepherd Ray Brathwaite, of the NCOISBTT, said this year’s event, expected to begin at 9 am, takes the form of a pilgrimage-styled celebration for which members of the organisation’s north and south-based churches would gather at Eddie Hart Savannah.
He said Patriarch Stephen Julien, Ecclesiastical Head of the NCOISBTT, was listed to address the gathering.
Braithwaite said they also were expecting a visiting 13-member contingent from St Vincent, headed by Archbishop Johnny Jones.
St Vincent’s Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry, Fisheries, Industry and Labour Saboro Caesar is also esxpected to address the event.