AS the country prepares to go to the polls and commemorate Emancipation and Independence, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (PCTT) the Rt Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan said this is a good time to reflect on freedom and responsibility.
“As we struggle to embrace the new normal coming out of the covid19 pandemic we face again some of the old issues that require our urgent attention. One such issue is the unanswered questions surrounding the attempted coup 30 years ago.”
July 27 marked 30 years since Yasin Abu Bakr and his Jamaat al Muslimeen staged an attempted coup, stormed the Parliament, TTT, Radio Trinidad and bombed the police headquarters in an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government led by ANR Robinson, who was shot and held hostage, along with others.
Even though there were several official and non-official inquiries into this event, Abdul-Mohan said, “None brought us any closer to a justification for this unconstitutional assault on our democracy. These analyses have generated more questions than answers regarding this event."
On Emancipation, Independence the election, she urged church members and others "to respect the choices of others, even if there is a difference of opinion.
“Let us not create a spirit of rivalry or racial tension just to get our own way and satisfy our own whims and fancies."
The church, she said, must heed the word of God in Christ to be light and salt in the world..."But it must be done outside the influence of politicians or political parties. It must be done without emphasis on racial issues." God’s kingdom "has a much deeper thrust than political promises of a better future for humanity and the whole of creation."
She said if the church did not recapture its prophetic responsibility, it would "become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority," and it was ncessary to "pray for and work together for meaningful change in our church and country.”
Long before the global pandemic struck, she said, churches, including the PCTT, were struggling with the question of how to be relevant in a rapidly changing world.
“Many have been wondering what the future holds for the church and whether it will be able to survive in that future. We have known for a long time now that to be the church today we need to change the paradigm."
For the church to thrive it needed to be robust in its missional focus and identity.
"We need to practise more relevant mission and evangelism, telling others about the love of God in Jesus and why that matters, both in our words and in our actions.”
Abdul-Mohan said after 152 years of evangelistic, educational and social work, the PCTT has liberated many from poverty and deprivation.
However, "The church seems to be complacent, operating in a maintenance mode for some time.
“The church, no doubt, has been buffeted by the same challenges that have been affecting other institutions in society. It struggles with understanding rapid change."