Spiritual Baptists are being called upon to stand firm in their faith and represent their religion proudly.
The call came on Tuesday from Archpriest Michael Anthony of the St Peter's Spiritual Baptist Church in a sermon during Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day celebrations at the Mt Bethel Spiritual Baptist Church, Pump Mill, Scarborough.
Anthony said the faith celebrates 70 years of being liberated. He reminded followers that liberation means freedom, which remains the key word of the holiday which commemorates the repeal of a 1917 ordinance which prohibited the practice of their religion.
“The Government of TT has granted us a holiday in so that we must recognise where we came from – we could look back and see where we came from, but we must look into the future and see where we are going.
“Do you have to be swatted? Somebody have to touch you to say you are free? Somebody have to touch you to say 'Wait, listen you are delivered?' Let me say to you Spiritual Baptists, we all are delivered through Jesus Christ. You are free to praise anytime, we are free to serve God, and this is the reason why we’re here today, to celebrate.”
He said that with freedom comes responsibility as he told those gathered that they all have a responsibility to move their faith forward.
“The Spiritual Baptist were not, and still today is not being, accepted by many people in this land. We were not being understood yesterday, and we are even told we are still not yet being understood. And so you, as a people, must count yourself as free. I am free not just by any man, but I’m free through Jesus Christ.
“I want us to trust God. I want us to believe that when we call upon the name of Jesus, all things are possible. I want us to not stay in the dark or in the back anymore. We can stand proud and say I serve a living God and my God hears and answers prayers.”
He said the Spiritual Baptist faith is as good as any other.
“Let us live Christian people. Sometimes they does want to say that a Baptist is not a Christian. We serve a living God, we believe that Jesus Christ died for me and died for you, we believe that he is coming back again. Let me say to all of us, no matter where you go, hold your head up high, know to yourself that I serve a living God within the Spiritual Baptist faith.
"Do not let only this day be a day in recognising yourself and your community as a Spiritual Baptist person, but I want you to stand with anyone and anything and stand proud to say that I am a Spiritual Baptist person, and I am a child of the living God."
Recalling an encounter, he said when his barber sent him to purchase a bottle of water and alcohol, he declined since he didn’t drink alcoholic beverages. To his surprise, another customer in the barbershop said, “Baptists does do anything.”
“I’m charging you today, don’t do 'anything.' You are a Christian. Wherever you are, you are a Christian. In the light and in the dark, you are a Christian. In the front and in the back, you are a Christian – you are a Spiritual Baptist and you also are a Christian. The eyes are on you. Live a Christian life so men could follow and find Jesus Christ.”