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Friday 22 March 2019
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Church must be more relevant

In a fast-paced world, Presbyterian minister says…

Reverend Kendrick Sooknarine who called for the church to be more relevant in fast changing world. He made the call at an Old Year’s Day sermon on Monday at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church in San Fernando.
Reverend Kendrick Sooknarine who called for the church to be more relevant in fast changing world. He made the call at an Old Year’s Day sermon on Monday at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church in San Fernando.

PRESBYTERIAN Minister Rev Kendrick Sooknarine said the doctrine which suggests that the Church must be like a rock, is no longer relevant in a fast-paced, rapidly evolving world.

In his Old Year’s night sermon at the Susamachar Presbyterian Church on Monday, Rev Sooknarine said that thinking is no longer relevant as rocks are firm and don’t move.“Sometimes the church is like that, firm and unmoving. Sometimes it does not move, it stays in one place even though the rest of the world is moving on. We may be in a sea of change, but we cannot be like a rock...unmoving. We have to learn how to sail the stormy waters, develop and use new tools and find new ways to send the message to our flock.”

“If we are not moving, we will be left behind and we do not want to be a church that is left behind.” However, Sooknarine cautioned about moving too fast, without thinking. He said such thinking could lead to peopl ending up like young motorcylist Rondel Jagessar who moved so fast that he made one mistake which could not be corrected for which he paid with his life.

“Condolences to the mothers who are grieving for their children at this time,” Sooknarine said. He told the congregation that another picture of the church must be painted, one reflecting the relevance of current times and situations.

GANJA OR PUNCHEON?

“Our church is in a storm, there are things happening all around us, there are all kinds of changes and we are being called as a place of safety to lead the way, so others can follow.” Pointing out that people are living in turbulent times, Sooknarine said when the world is in turbulence, leaders must not just be that in name but must lead.

Addressing the national conversation on the decriminalisation of marijuana, he surmised, “sometimes we have to change our course and direction.”

The clergyman questioned the criticism of this move asking, “which is worse, marijuana or puncheon? Which takes more lives? Does drinking take lives in our society? Is drinking fatal? But you notice puncheon is okay. It is not a criminal offence. Why do we have young doctors drink so much and end up in coffins. Is it not the drinking that put them in coffins? But drinking is okay.”

He described as a fallacy the saying that the old days were the good days, reminding the congregation that they are here because of slavery and indentureship. “The Presbyterian church is celebrating 150 years of the presence of the Canadian Missionary, that is still a stain on our old history. We never made a strong statement against Indentureship. We were never willing to challenge the government, we pretended everything was hunky dory.”

NO GOOD OLD DAYS

“In the past, which we called the good old days, there were boxes we had to fit in, gentlemen had to wear jackets and tie. There were white boxes, there were black boxes, rich boxes, poor boxes. Today all those boxes are being broken down. There are many different kinds of people, with different shapes, colours, different ages and part of the challenge is how we co-exist as Christians and continue to be the light of the world.”

Acknowledging that this Christianity he is preaching is happening in an unfair world, he referenced the justice system and whether it is delivering what is fair to the people. “Can we be assured that the methods of the people who hold the leadership offices in our courts are fair. When justice fails, chaos reigns and people take things into their own hands. We look at the crime situation and see people taking things in their own hands because they feel they cannot get justice.”

He said although we live in a democratic society, democracy does not always solve problems. Drawing a parallel between ‘rich politicians’ and ‘poor voters’ which he said often breeds riots and violence in many countries because people don’t believe, “this thing called government or democracy is really delivering to us what it ought to be delivering. In TT we are defined by run and roti politics. How can we rise above these things and create a different society?”

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