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Today marks the third day of Holy Week. As many Bahamians are aware, Holy Week is observed on the Christian calendar every year commemorating and focusing on the travails as well as eventual death of Jesus Christ. It marks the culmination of the Lenten season which, according to custom, lasts for 40 days.
The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). I do not play the numbers nor do I encourage others to do so. While the scriptures do not have a clear statement "thou shalt not play the numbers", at its core, gambling is "chance-living". It is covetousness and materialism. Believers in the faith community are called to "live by faith".
PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham thanked leaders of the Church of God for their commitment to Christian values, unwavering support of the poor and contribution to society yesterday.
The nation's chief said the Church of God "is special to me" and recalled it as his childhood place of worship while growing up in Cooper's Town, Abaco.
He said he was very happy to join the congregation as they dedicated "a monument to honour, and in memoriam of the late Bishop William M Johnson, the first National Overseer of the Church of God in the Bahamas".
Not only was the Church of God the church of his childhood, but "so was Bishop Johnson, whose memory I cherish."
Mr Ingraham said ...
The Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed (Awana) Ministries of Calvary Bible Church recently recognized club members for excellence.
Alexander Poval and Lazaria Colebrooke were named most outstanding male and female and received the "Sparkie" prizes during their recent end-of-term Christmas party. Lashae Lightbourne received the prize for most outstanding "Sparks" female athlete, and K'vin Stuart received the most outstanding male athlete award. The general excellence award for the club member who excelled in all areas such as Bible verse memorization, showing good sportsmanship, and having a good attitude, went to Keyezia Wilson.
The recent end-of-term Awana Christmas party was hosted by former club member Dr. Sean Knowles, who also served as a leader for the "Sparks" group in the early 2000s before attending college to study towards a medical degree.
"I want the kids, especially those who are growing up in the Centreville, East Street, and Mason's Addition areas, to know that they can be successful at whatever they desire to do in life, but it all has to start with knowing Jesus Christ as lord and savior and allowing God to direct and order your steps," said Dr. Knowles.
Awana is an international, Bible-centered children's and youth ministry providing local churches with weekly clubs and programs for preschool aged through high school children. The goal is to reach children and teenagers and their families with the Gospel of Christ and to train them to serve him.
"Being a part of the Awana ministry was a blessing for me," said Dr. Knowles. "My late grandmother made sure I attended church and every Awana meeting. I was instructed at such a young age about God's Word and about how to live a productive Christian life. I was even led to Christ at the age of nine by one of the leaders Mr. Basil Miller, who is still active in this ministry today," said Dr. Knowles. "Even though I am not as actively involved with Awana, I cannot ignore the fact that part of who I am today is because of this amazing youth ministry, and I very much want to continue to be a part of it in any way that I can."
The hottest news around town these days is about who is going to Mt. Fitzwilliam to be the next governor general of The Bahamas. Everyone is speculating, probing, digging, guessing, estimating, editorializing as to who, why, why not, what for, when, yes, no, maybe so, who owes and didn't pay. My name was even called in the mix to go to the house on the hill.
I would dare say that we are indeed a peculiar people -- we do not really like to see people succeed and move on in life. Why now should one look up to see who owes what, just because they forecast something good about to happen for someone? There goes the marking of an evil mind -- for the bill was always there.
I really do get sad when I see the published list of distressed houses up for sale. It hurts when people are mean and cruel and no love, care or sympathy is in them. But little do they know that they too are headed for a house either up or down, and how it looks to me, more are going downtown rather than uptown.
In this second book of The Corinthians, Paul continues to address the saints at Corinth. This church was in trouble, and Paul in his first letter to them shared the mind of Christ. He encouraged them to accept this new worship, to give with love in their hearts and believe the resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection of the dead. Greeting them, he bestowed "Grace be to you and peace from God our father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ".
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, and a house not made with hands, that is eternal in the heavens.
Joseph told his brothers down in Egypt that what was done for evil, God turned it around it for good. I pray that with all the talk about who is going to Government House this will help us to think about the day when we will be going to a new house that is not made of mortar and stone or located in some gated community, but eternal in the heavens. Oh how we make gods of houses, while some take no care of maintaining.
Let us begin to develop the kind of love when we first began to celebrate nationhood. We cannot allow evil to corrupt our spiritual houses and cause us to inherit eternal houses of gloom and doom.
o E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's blessings!
Hundreds of mourners filled Christ Church Cathedral to bid farewell to Edith, Lady
When last did you read the Book of Daniel? It was possibly a long time ago, recently or never. Some persons may ask, "Where is that book found?"
Persons tend to shun the books of Daniel and Revelation, as they appear hard to understand. "There are simply too many images lacking relevance for us today," admit some individuals. Even some Christians bypass these two books preferring to read the gospels, Psalms and Proverbs, for they make for easier reading. However, if we are to gain an understanding of the past, the present and the future, then Daniel and Revelation are a must. We will certainly understand some of the current issues and ills. Therefore, I encourage a study of the Old Testament book of Daniel.
Looking at Daniel 1-6 (Narratives)
For starts, let's consider the author. Who wrote this Old Testament book? It was Daniel, a young Hebrew captive taken to the city of Babylon in 605 BC. When Babylon overpowered his nation of Judah, he and some of his Jewish friends were removed from their home and taken as captives to Babylon, then the strongest nation of the world under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar. Christ recognized Daniel as author as noted in Matthew 24:15. There, He says, "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand) ..."
These words of Christ not only confirm the authorship of Daniel, but they again underscore the need to read and understand the book of Daniel. It is to be known for more than just some of its familiar stories. It is also known for its relevance for the present.
Breaking down the Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is divided into two sections - Daniel 1-6 and Daniel 7-12. Daniel 1-6 is regarded as the narrative section. It comprises of those familiar stories such as the capture of Daniel and his Hebrew friends in Daniel 1, and also their faithfulness and loyalty to God in not compromising their principles even in a foreign place.
Daniel 2 speaks of a dream by Nebuchadnezzar, which he could not remember. However, God would expose the so-called magicians and elevate Daniel and his companions by making known the dream and its interpretation to Daniel.
Chapter 3 is even more familiar. It records the well-known story of the golden image erected by Nebuchadnezzar and the refusal of Daniel's Hebrew companions to worship it or (by extension) Nebuchadnezzar.
In Chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar is humbled, and in chapter 5, there is a new ruler namely, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, who holds a feast ignoring the true God; and finally, Daniel 6, which comprises possibly the best known story of the Bible -- Daniel in the Lion's Den. Therefore, it can be argued that the Book of Daniel is not that difficult thus far.
Looking at Daniel 7-12 (Visions)
In order to comprehend this section (chapters 7-12), it is important to refer back to the themes of Daniel chapters 1-6. You will discover that they are paralleled in chapters 7-12.
For instance, the destruction of the temple, the persecution of God's people, the longest time prophecy, judgment, and finally God standing up for his people and delivering them. However, you will discover that there is a repeating of the prophecy of Daniel 2. Instead of one image as noted in Daniel 2, in Daniel 7 there are four great beasts referring to the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.
Likewise in Daniel 8, there is the vision of the ram and the goat. The ram with the two horns, one being higher than the other refer to Medo-Persia. Additionally, the male goat with a notable horn between his eyes refers to Greece, but the large horn was broken into four pieces pointing to the dividing of the kingdom of Greece into four kingdoms.
Then finally, there is reference to the little horn growing exceedingly great. Persecution is associated with this little horn. This was troubling to Daniel, and rightly so, as this system persecutes the saints of God and attempts to change God's law. Whereas Daniel 2 speaks about pagan Rome or imperial Rome, there is clear reference to Papal Rome in Daniel 7, 8 and 9.
What is the point?
God wants us to know what is happening, what will happen in our world and the importance of being ready for his return. More importantly, the book of Daniel offers the present generation a sense that God is in control, and while it may appear that our world is spiraling out of control, the events of these last days will usher in the eternal kingdom of God - one that will stand forever.
It gives the church a perspective that otherwise would lead men and women to despair; for example, the feet of the image of Daniel 2 refer to the divided kingdoms of Europe. This period precedes the kingdom of God.
Daniel therefore provides a knowledge of the future today, and based on what has been fulfilled, the prophecies of Daniel can be trusted. Is it any wonder that the enemy would seek to prevent persons from reading and understanding Daniel and Revelation?
People fear and despair for a lack of knowledge, but this need not be the case for us. Our loving God is not willing that any be lost, therefore, he has prepared a plan whereby we might know and be aware of the situation in the world. No matter how dismal current affairs may appear, God's word teaches that there will be an end to it, and we will have a new experience in Christ. Shouldn't this motivate followers of God to be eager in sharing this knowledge?
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, He said to him, "Follow me."
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.
"Come and see," said Philip. - John 1:43-46.
Constantly, you and I encounter people who feel the way Nathanael felt when he was told about Jesus, the Messiah of God. Follow Philip's example.
Don't get into an argument about it. Don't be afraid to take them to the Messiah. He has all the answers. He can revolutionize their lives. He can open their eyes to see. He is God's anointed.
We arrive at Easter by way of a 40 day journey we call Lent. This Lent has been unusual. We witnessed the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis. We also had our usual events. There was the Rite of Election for those about to be received in the church at the Easter Vigil. We recall too the Lenten Missions both on New Providence and Grand Bahama. The mid-day Biblical Reflections and the Pilgrimage for the Year of Faith have added to opportunities for our spiritual growth during this Lent.
Now we arrive at the celebration of Easter itself. This is the foundation of our faith. This is the very source of the strength and the hope that is within us.
From the liturgy of Easter Sunday we have words from the Acts of Apostles where Peter reports how Jesus "... went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil for God was with Him. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. Yet, "God raised him on the third day ..." (Acts 10:3 7ff).
That is a basic, fundamental even primitive expression of our Christian faith. It is the bed rock upon which we place all our hope. In reflecting on the last three popes one writer noted that Francis is the Pope of Charity, Benedict XVI was the Pope of Faith and John Paul II was the Pope of Hope.
Easter is the foundation of our hope. It is the foundation upon which we build all our values. It is the cornerstone for all the meaning and purpose and motivation for good that is ours in this life. It is the source for the expectation we have for the fullness of life of which we have only hints and shadows in this mortal existence.
In Easter, we celebrate what Peter was speaking about when he says "God raised Him on the third day." We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
We share in that resurrection by our very own baptism. Sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the way we understand our baptism. As St. Paul says, "Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in the newness of life" (Romans 6: 3-4).
Continuing that same thought, the second reading for Easter Sunday which is taken from Colossians says this: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1).
Living in the newness of life and seeking what is above indicates life in the light of the resurrection.
Let us remember that at the beginning of Lent, in our preparation for Easter we were invited to undertake a journey of conversion. The words of the Prophet Joel from Ash Wednesday were very striking and very instructive as well. It is well for us to keep them in mind. The prophet says to us: "Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing" (Joel 2:12-14a).
"Rend your hearts, not your garments," says Joel. These words echo those of the First Book of Samuel which says: "Not as man sees does God see because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart" (I Samuel 16:7).
The call to conversion at the beginning of Lent and the call to live in the newness of life at the start of the Easter season remind us who we are and what we ought to be doing. Paul reminds us that we are to be dead to sin and alive for God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).
From time to time we all find ourselves on intimate terms with sin in one form or another. We need to remember that sin has personal consequences for us. More than that, living in a community as we all do, sin has social consequences as well. Our selfishness, our dishonesty, our unfaithfulness and our prejudice all have consequences which reach beyond us. These consequences have effects within the community in which we live. Indeed, they impact the quality of our life together. When we steal, someone has to pay for it. If we are rude and disrespectful, someone is offended by it. Indeed, our sinful actions have effects beyond ourselves.
Likewise, the good we do has effects beyond ourselves. An act of kindness, a word of encouragement or challenge or even a loving rebuke when necessary may each have an effect beyond our expectations. The bad and the good in us affect those around us.
We are reminded on this very special feast that: "We were indeed buried with [Christ] through baptism in His death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in the newness of life" (Romans 6:3-11).
Again we are reminded: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated with God's right hand. Think of what is above ..." (Colossians 3:1-4).
Our task is to affect those around us for the good always. In that way we build our community. The foundation for our values our meanings our hope and our community building is our Easter faith.
Easter continues our call to conversion. It is our call to goodness. The Easter proclamation declares: "Jesus Christ our King is risen!" With him rose all our hope. With him rose our desire to carry on despite all the distractions and disappointments and doubt which may encircle us in the course of any given day.
Easter is above all else a joyful season. The season lasts for 50 days until Pentecost. To grasp that is to grasp what the gospel refers to when it speaks of understanding that Christ our life, our light and our hope, rose from the dead.
May the newness of life which Easter announces come to abide in our hearts and from there influence our community and our world. May it be so especially during this Year of Faith.
-- Archbishop Patrick C. Pinder,
Catholic archbishop of Nassau
Funeral service for Balmont Augustus Thompson, 49 yrs., a resident of #21 Flamingo Ave. who died on 14th November, 2011, will be held at Bethel Baptist Church, Meeting Street, on Friday at 2:00 p.m. Officiating will be Pastor Timothy Stewart. Interment follows in Old Trail Cemetery, Old Trail Road.
Cherished memories are held by: Parents: Vivian Thompson and Gwendolyn Brown-Thompson. Step mother: Maude Thompson; Two sons: Balmont Augustus Thompson Jr. and Micheal Viviano Thompson; Three Brothers: Rubeanstein "Russ" Thompson, Darious Omill"Ugly" Thompson and Frederick Thompson of U.S.A; Nephews: Darious and Damascus "Lil-D.O.T" Thompson, Devaughn Colebrooke, Javaughn and Trevor Thompson, Don, Elrie and Elroy; Niece: Nefraya Capron; Grandaunt: Nercie Brown; Aunt: Nora McCalla; Adopted sister: Beryl Thompson; Adopted brothers: Benson Ismy, Donado Ferguson, Rashadow "Shadow" Brown, Jeremy Adderley, Gayon Pinder, Leonard "Eggy"Saunders, Adrian "Zukie" Deveaux, Nicholas Thompson, Trevor Butler, Greth Gordon, Grey Black, Delvin Poitier and Prince Wright; Godfather: Donald Wilson; Godbrother: Austin Wilson and Godsister: Mrs. Dona Wilson-Haley; Cousins: Gloria Forbes, Rudolph Bethel, Florentine McPhee, Sidney Storr, Michael Roker, Howard Bastian, Telsine Pickstock, Malvise Bastian, Mary Mitchell, Assistant Superintendent of Police R.B.P.F., Joyann Hamilton, Martha Graff, Deanza, Sean, Kayla, Keisha and Khatia Thompson, Brenda Thompson, Kendrick, Barry, Audley, Adrian, Kevin and Benjamin Thompson, Vanessa Calloway, Bernadette Rutherford, Kenneth Thompson, Godfrey, Belfield and Miranda Inniss, Sandra Gordon, Patrice Munroe, Rev. Christina Bethel, Sheena Mackey, Ester Flesh, Shenique Thompson, Monique Burrows, Stanley, Joy and Barbara McCalla and Edna Forbes; Other relatives and friends: Natasha Gabriel, Denise Bowleg Morley, Michelle Bowleg Rolle, The Bowleg family, Rita Williams and family, The Hon. Desmond Bannister, The Miller family, Lasheen Symonette & family, The Isaac's family, Julia Thompson & family, The Young Family, Diane & family, Shea & family, Dereck "Camebo" Cambridge, Marvin "Smiley" Poitier, Dandy Lion's School family, The St. John's College School family,Mr. Lester & Mrs. Cindy Stuart, Pastor Timothy Stewart & The Bethel Baptist Church family, Male Medical I team of doctors and nurses at P.M.H., Oncology Department, Inspector Warren Johnson & Family, Trineil & Family, The Gambier Village Community and other too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 12-6:00 p.m. on Thursday & on Friday from 01-12:00 noon & at the church from 1:00 p.m. until service time.
As the nation continues to mourn the death of world renowned religious leader Dr. Myles Munroe, and eight others who perished in a plane crash on Sunday, condolences and messages of encouragement from international leaders and celebrities have continued to come in.
Josh Reinstein, the director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, said Munroe was a big supporter of Israel who came to the Jewish state twice a year, The Jerusalem Post reported.
"His faith and love of Israel was an inspiration to us all," Reinstein said. "Israel had no better friend and the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus was honored to work with him."
The Christian Embassy in Jerusalem said in a statement that "Myles Munroe was a key leader of the global
Evangelical movement with a big heart for Israel," and that "his tragic passing is a loss for Christians and for the Jewish people he loved".
Bishop T. D. Jakes, of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, said Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI) and those around the globe were impacted by "Munroe's love of God's word, his purpose-centered teaching and passion for leaders".
"Our hearts are broken," he said on his Facebook page. "We weep with all Christendom at this unimaginable loss.
"There are few biblical clinicians whose view of ministry wasn't enriched in some way by this tremendous bible scholar.
"His voice changed the way we viewed the kingdom."
American singer and songwriter Mary J. Blige asked her Facebook friends and supporters to pray for all families of the victims.
"So saddened to hear of Dr. Myles Munroe and his beautiful wife Ruth Munroe passing away in a tragic plane crash along with the pilots and his staff," she posted.
"Praying for the Munroe family, their church family and all the families whose loved ones were lost in this tragic accident."
Pastor Benny Hinn, evangelist and best-selling author, also offered his condolences.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the Myles Munroe family and everyone who is a part of the Bahamas Faith Ministries International," Hinn posted on his Facebook page.
"...The Munroes were long-time, dearest friends to Suzanne, the entire Hinn family, and to me.
"I ask you to pray for their family and ministry friends during this time of unthinkable tragedy."
Pastor John Charles Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, tweeted that he was deeply saddened by the loss.
"We have no fear of death," Hagee said.
"Our last breath here is our first breath there."
A book of condolences was also opened at The Bahamas Mission to the United Nations in New York yesterday to "allow members of the diplomatic community and the Bahamian diaspora in New York to pay last respects to Dr. Myles Munroe".
The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C., said the memorial gesture was sparked by the numerous telephone calls of "shock and grief" from the diplomatic community to Bahamas United Nations and Organization of American States Ambassador Dr. Elliston Rahming.
"Dr. Munroe and I were childhood friends," Rahming said.
"We were born five days apart in 1954. Even as a teenager, Dr. Munroe understood his purpose and used his special gifts to maximize his potential.
"He was a towering intellect, a multidimensional talent and servant of God with global appeal."
Creflo A. Dollar, Jr., founder of World Changers Church International, said on Instagram, "Taffi and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife, Ruth.
"We send our prayers and condolences to the Munroe family and all families affected in [Sunday's] tragic event."
The crash was the greatest aviation tragedy in The Bahamas since nine men were killed in a crash in Lake Killarney in 2010.
Officials said Myles Munroe's plane left New Providence around 4:07 p.m. and crashed into a crane and exploded at the Grand Bahama Shipyard while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5:10 p.m.
The group was traveling to Grand Bahama for the Global Leadership Forum.
All nine people aboard the aircraft were killed.
Munroe, who was in Lagos, Nigeria, just days before his death, traveled extensively over the last few months sharing his message of leadership and the kingdom.
Nigerian Christian author and the founder of Living Faith Church World Wide Bishop David O. Oyedepo wrote a six-paragraph tribute to the Munroes, published on Praiseworld Radio, a popular Gospel radio station in Nigeria.
He called Munroe "a bundle of inspiration, a man of spiritual depth and insight, and a leader of leaders and teacher of teachers".
He described Ruth Munroe as a woman of "joy and divine radiance", who "[exuded] gentleness, love and care like a fountain".
"The two of you were swifter than eagles," Oyedepo said. "You literally traversed the globe.
"As you taught nations the principles of the Kingdom, you were both as strong as the unicorn.
"Energetic, untiring, never relenting, purposeful and focused."
During an address at the leadership forum on Wednesday, Myles Chairo Munroe Jr. said this is the most difficult time in his life, but declared that death will not claim any victory.
He said he will be a vessel through which his parents' legacy will live on.
Breaking his silence amid ongoing national debate on the controversial gambling issue, FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers said yesterday he would immediately shut down all of his web shops in The Bahamas and send staff home with full benefits if the January 28 referendum fails and the government orders an industry-wide shutdown.
"I would be the first to proceed to all of my stores with the assistance of any of the leaders of the no vote and assure them that each and every one of my stores would be closed immediately without any remorse. There's no doubt about that," said Flowers in an exclusive interview with The Nassau Guardian.
"The only thing that I would require would be suffient time to speak to my staff to assure them that all benefits earned by them while employed with my company, FML, they would all be recognized and paid in full.
"This decision is going to be made by the people of The Bahamas. If the people choose, a message would be sent to all of us. I am going to be the first out to close all of my stores."
Flowers said, "The word would not get off of Perry Gladstone Christie's lips quickly enough before I have every one closed."
He said he has 12 stores in New Providence, one in Grand Bahama and one in Abaco, and just under 400 employees.
Speaking to The Nassau Guardian at his Bay Street office, Flowers also strongly denied that Prime Minister Perry Christie is bringing the referendum as a pay back for numbers bosses who reportedly funded his re-election bid.
In fact, Flowers said his company did not contribute to the Progressive Liberal Party's (PLP) recent re-election campaign and he as a longtime supporter of the PLP only made a small personal donation.
"One would think that if there was any type of funds given to the now prime minister, why would he still go to a referendum? If he cut a deal with any of us, the only thing for him to do is to go ahead and enact that Mr. Flowers has a license and that's done, finished," Flowers said.
"He made a promise to the Bahamian people that he would have a referendum. We don't go around giving funds from our company to any political party. That's not a practice of my company."
But Flowers added, "I've been a member and a supporting member of the PLP as an individual for many, many years and for myself personally I would go in and make my contributions to (PLP secretary general) Barbara Pierre like anyone else to the party.
"Never ever would we (FML Group) go because we know the implications are going to be perceived that there is a special interest for the gaming industry."
Asked if he was disappointed in the referendum process, Flowers said he would have liked to have seen the government take a clearer position on the issue.
"Personally, I would have wanted the government to explain the purpose of the referendum a little clearer to the public at large," he said.
"The government in my mind should have taken a position to say we would welcome, we would welcome the opportunity to take on this challenge, to regulate and to tax this industry because if you give us that mandate we would certainly proceed down the road of regulating and taxing the industry, and I thought that would have been a just position for the government to take, to say please give us this opportunity to regulate because we have half of our citizens running in an out of the stores."
Christie has said repeatedly that the government has 'no horse in the race', but he has also pointed to the detrimental effect a no vote would have.
Flowers also told The Nassau Guardian he would support Bahamians being allowed to gamble in casinos and getting casino licenses.
The casino question is not on the January 28 ballot, but Christie has said if the Constitutional Commission recommends it be addressed he would ensure it is put on the ballot of the constitutional referendum promised later this year.
Asked his position on casinos, Flowers said, "Personally, I was arguing, as a matter of fact, I'm on record of stating I think Bahamians should be given licenses for casinos.
"...The industry is bigger than all of us. I honestly do think that Bahamians should be allowed to play anywhere they go personally.
"The government has its reasons for feeling otherwise and there is an enormous amount of respect from myself for the government on this issue.
"But I honestly do think there is nothing wrong [with Bahamians gambling in casinos]. The argument that was made in the past for Bahamians not to play in casinos is embarrassing, that we don't know how to act, that we're going to break up the people's place.
"We certainly know how to act, we certainly know how to conduct ourselves in the presence of others and I think when that regulation was put in place it was intended to protect us, not so much to restrict us. Today I think we have matured.
"We are able to govern ourselves and protect ourselves and do no more and no less that anyone else does in casinos."
Flowers also told The Nassau Guardian he sees value in the Christian Council's stated concerns about a regulated industry.
"At some points of the Christian Council's arguments when they debate these things and I sit and listen, if I'm not careful, many, many times they are convincing me that what they are saying and what they are doing is correct because we are all Christians and because we have a soul, an inner self. We grew up in a society as children to worship our God, to understand what our Lord Jesus Christ [wants]. That's in all of us here in The Bahamas," he said.
"I went to Sunday school. They made me go. I'm a frequent churchgoing person at St. Agnes Church so I believe in my God.
"I believe in the principles that the church is advocating, but I'm trying to find a way to undo what we sat right here for the past 55 to 60 years and let perpetuate right under our nose.
"We are all responsible and I found it somewhat strange that some of us now want to step back and point fingers because this happened on all of our watch, every one of us, whether we like it or not. How do we undo what we would have allowed to take place over 60 years? It may take us 70 years to undo it, believing [in] closing web shops isn't going to undo it."
Flowers said closing web shops would not kill the strong desire many people have to gamble.
"You'd have to kill the desire of the people for this lust," he said. "This is a lust."
While Flowers said he would be willing to shut down his operation, he noted the difficulty the government would face in trying to completely kill the industry due to the widespread use of technology.
Asked if it is possible to shut down the industry in The Bahamas, Flowers said, "It is possible, but it would have to be by closing down the [Internet]."
Flowers lived and worked in Libya in North Africa for 14 years.
"I know propaganda was critical to the survival of the government there and sometimes the government goes to the extent to contain the flow of information within their boundaries," he said.
"If this government chooses to go that far it can."
I have a message for Branville McCartney and anyone else who thinks that Christians should find more important things to do than fight against making gambling legal. I agree Mr. McCartney, there are many important things that Christians can do, but contrary to popular belief, the most important thing is to bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said he will not apologize to church leaders for suggesting they accept money from web shop bosses.
Pastor Lyall Bethel, of Grace Community Church, said Davis should "do himself a big favor and say he misspoke" and "beg for forgiveness".
But the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP said that suggestion is "groundless" and he will not apologize.
"Let me say, every Sunday morning in my church, I confess," Davis told The Guardian.
"I go through my act of penance and I am forgiven. Then there is my act of absolution. Every Sunday, I engage in those two principles that ground my faith."
Davis said Bethel misunderstood him.
"He is not the only one that raised the matter with me," Davis said.
"Other persons of the clergy raised the matter with me. A number of them wrote to me by email because they got that same impression.
"I explained to them why I did that and that I did not, in fact, attack the church.
"It was not for me to attack the church, but just render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's. Render the things unto God that are God's."
When the Gaming Bill was tabled in the House of Assembly last month, Bethel, along with Bahamas Christian Council President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson, Pastor Cedric Moss and Pastor Alfred Stewart sat in the gallery dressed in all black.
The men charged that the government is "killing democracy" by going against the results of the January 28, 2013 gambling referendum. The majority of voters voted against the regulation of the web shop industry.
During his contribution to the bill, Davis said, "I got word while I was in Samoa that members of the Bahamas Christian Council sat in the gallery Wednesday past to highlight the death of democracy in The Bahamas.
"...Having heard this, I wondered whether these same pastors that preach about the wrongs of gambling themselves have accounts or accept benefits from these gentlemen? And I ask myself why should I be asking myself that of our religious leaders? Why would they want to put me or anyone else in a position to be asking these questions?"
Pastor Henry Higgins said that he and his wife, Pastor Ann Higgins, have been walking the call that God placed on their lives for many years, and that with their affirmation and consecration as apostles, they finally caught up on earth with what God had ordained in heaven.
Funeral service for Evangelist Prophetess Lauretta Maude Rolle, 86 yrs., a resident of Tarus Court & formerly of Old Bight, Cat Island, who died on 30th March, 2012, will be held at St. James Native Baptist Church, St. James Road, on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Officiating will be Bishop Dr. Michael Symonette, assisted by Pastor Pandora Ingraham. Interment follows in St. James Cemetery.Left to cherish her memories are her Daughters: Evangelist Eleanor Burrows, Deaconess Theresa Strachan, Margaret Sweeting, Barbara Rolle, Glendora Hart, Archerlean Brown and Clara Rolle, sons: Charles, Prophet Christopher, Hamrick, Elvis and Paul Rolle, grandchildren: Rommell and Zhirvago Burrows, Samantha Forbes, Keshie Roach, Anishka Hart, Mario Elliot, Errol Clarke, Natasha Duncombe, Sonia, Kendra, Dennis Benson Kevin, Stephen Strachan, Reeshemah, Clement, Shelton, Shevette Rolle, Levardo,Tamara , Jermaine, Jamaal, Kovic Brown, Roshanda Rolle-Knowles, Shanner Hilton Rolle, Judith Rolle, Paul Jr., Nicole Fanny, Catherine Rolle, Tina Ferguson, Christina, Jeffrey and Christopher Sweeting, Rosell Hart-Joseph, Melissa and Ressa Hart, Christopher Duncombe, 100 Great great grands, 1 great grand aunt, Adline Ambrister, sisters-in-law, Clara Lindsey, Beatrice Seymour, Rochelle Rolle, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Inell Archer, Ft. Pierce, Fla, 1 brother-in-law James Pratt, sons-in-law: Prince Burrows, Solomon Strachan, Godfrey Sweeting, James Brown, Deacon Rudolph Hart and Ruben Rolle, 3 daughter-in-laws, Beverley, Edna and Denise Rolle, nieces: Betty Williams, Delores Farrington, Judith Hepburn, Pauline Bowe, Ruby Thompson, Sheryl Simmons, Mannetta Smith, Marie Russell, Karen Rolle, Maureen Archer, nephews: Locksley, Kirklin and Uriel Johnson, Kendis Archer and Ted Strachan.
Adopted children: Leroy Mackey, Jonathon Dorsette, Dwight Knowles, Brian Rolle, Wendy Rolle, Christopher Brown, Erica Brown and Adline Burrows. Other Relative and Friends including: Sister Olive Dawkins Rolle, Winifred Rolle, Julia Armbrister, Eleazer Rolle, Monica Hart, Eleanora Rolle, Lily Armbrister, Princess Styles, Rosebell Rolle, Carlton Rolle, Getta Rolle, Eugie Godet- Seymour, Emerald Brown, Delore Poitier Sister Brice, Brave Davis, Isabella Burrows, Geleta Burrows, Ralda Williams and the entire community of Old Bight, Cat Island.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 9:00 a.m. until service time.
Funeral Service for the Late Joycelyn Minerva Gibson, 73 years of #19 Eighth Terrace East, Centreville, will be held on Saturday March 31st, 11:00 a.m. at Epiphany Anglican Church, Prince Charles Drive. Rev. Fr. Atma Budhu will officiate. Interment will follow in the Western Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Joycelyn is survived her Children: Inspector Kent A. Butler, Marvin D. Butler and Rosamond Butler-Knowles; Son-in-law - Christian Knowles; Grand Children: Marvin Butler Jr. , Moneko Butler, Kendra Butler, Raechel Knowles, Cameron Knowles, Kieanna Butler, Maia Bethel and Myan Butler; Sisters: Pamela Newbold, Judy Fields, Willamae Cunningham, Bloomfield Ferguson, Patricia Bethel, Raven Pindling (Gwendolyn Bethel), Minister Sherry Bethel, Sheila Moss and Janet Bethel; Brothers: George Tucker, Kenneth Tucker, Ulan (Wendel) Bethel of Fort Lauderdale, Charles Bethel Jr. of Chicago, Clifton Bowe, Luke Bethel, Howard Bethel, William Bethel, Ricardo Bethel, Trevor Bethel, Bruce Bethel, Leroy Bethel, Godfrey Bethel and Marvin Bethel; Sisters-in-law: Catherine Tucker, Audrey Tucker and Nerva Bowe; Brothers-in-law: Clifton Fields, Rudolph Cunningham, Anthony Moss MP for Exuma; Nieces and Grandnieces: Janet & Jasma Munnings, Gaye Dean, Patrona, Vashti & Paige Cartwright, Pamela & Aleisha Williams of Jacksonville Florida, Kayla & T'nique Brown, Tonette Kemp and Julie Campbell of Atlanta, Georgia, Kayla Cartwright, Renee Tucker, Judy Tucker of Washington D.C., Bloneva Bethel, Shavannah Bridgewater of Freeport, Allison Fields of Staffordshire, England, Carol, Kieanna and Traci Atwell of Miami Florida, Ria & Mia Newbold, Cierra Cunningham, Marissah, Machara, Makira, Marchelle and Miranda Tucker, Patsy Armbrister, Susan & Shirley Bethel, Lashonda Bowe, Judy & Suna Winder and numerous other nieces; Nephews and Grandnephews: Frederick Tucker, Keith Tucker, Ken Tucker of Washington D.C., Christopher Tucker of Orlando Florida, Edward & Lydein Williams of Jacksonville Florida, Lawerance Atwell of Denver Colorado, Craig & Sean Atwell of Miami Florida, Inspector Ricardo and Joseph Fields of Staffordshire, England, Oral and O.J Newbold, Audley & Jaismal Munnings, Pastor Ricardo, R'chard & Rico Dean, Clement Cartwright, Christopher Sr. & Christopher Jr. Cunningham, Michael, Marcian and Marcel Tucker,Clifton Bowe Jr., Lathario Bowe, Garland & Patrick and numerous other nephews; Cousins: Rosetta Johnson and Family, Marjorie Johnson and Family, Warren and Gwen Gibson of Miami, Florida, Winifred Williamson and Family, Zala Johnson and Family, Rosie Gibson, Dorothy Dames and Family, Kathleen Demeritte and Family, Dr. Walter and Sandra Gibson, Hartcourt Gibson and Family,Wainwright and Vera Gibson and Family and Una Clarke and Family. Other Relatives and Friends: Samuel Brown, The Gibson Family of Eleuthera, Gregory Butler and Family, Hilda Knowles and Family, Gregg and Debra White and Family, Reverend Angela Palacious, Esther Armbrister and Family, Margaret Ramsingh and Family, Tammy Clarke, Ella Curtis, Lavendra Minus and Family, Arlene Barry, Peachette Morley, Elaine Scavella, Cleo Frazier, Lavanda McPhee, The Family of Faith Ministries International, The Church of God of Prophecy and numerous others.
The Family of Joycelyn Bethel-Gibson extends a heartfelt thank you to everyone for the outpouring of love, support, thoughts, prayers and visits, they were greatly appreciated. We wish to thank The Anglican Church of The Epiphany and Rev'd. Fr. Atma Budhu, Rev'd. Angela Palacious and the Doctors, Nurses and staff of Female Medical II Ward of The Princess Margaret Hospital.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, #34 Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
What does respect mean, especially in the context of our being a "Christian nation" and the exercising of our democratic rights in this particular season? We, as a people, have always had a problem drawing a line between our intentions and motives as we exercise what we claim to be "God-given discernment" in our dealings with each other; especially in our political forays.
It has been convenient for the voting population to divide the political landscape into political camps, that of the godly and ungodly. We have one political leader to whom we have ascribed a form of Christianity to and another who we see as godless. Ironically, if the men were to be judged by what they have said and done over the years, the godless leader would come out ahead. I was thinking of this just this morning as the "Nobody greater issue" surfaced again. If Hubert Ingraham is as godless as his opponents claim, he would have basked in the adulation that the song ascribed to him. But he got on the radio station the next day and made it very clear that a mistake was made. However, that news did not reach the other stations. If it did, it was not broadcast.
Was it convenient to let the perception continue? Probably. But if this is so, it brings up the issue and question of motive: how we present ourselves and how we present others, especially as some of us claim to speak for God, represent God, and claim to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what is on his mind?
Why is this a problem? It does not seem like a problem. But for those people who are making particular claims for God and what He expects from us and others, it gets complicated. It is not about what we claim, it is about the issue of motive. There is a scene in the book of Matthew chapter seven where the parameters for judgement are being laid out and if you read verses 21 to 23, it is apparent that the judgement comes not because of what is done "in His name", but the motive for what is done and the motive for doing should be grounded in the fact that "He knows us".
"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did not we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do mighty works in your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'".
This political season will be constantly punctuated by pastors, politicians and church folk getting on a particular side of the political divide and their utterances and numerous involvements will give a watching public reason for pause. Some of us are thankful that this activity only happens every five years, but I am not sure that all of the participants, especially us "Christian folk", are aware of some of the long-term consequences -- consequences and judgements that are clearly stated in that book we carry under our arms on Sunday.
- Edward Hutcheson
Walking with God is something that requires a
relationship with Him and not just religiously knowing of Him. The
evidence of religiously knowing about God is clearly seen today
throughout the religious church world; as there are many religious
leaders who are mesmerizing their congregations with claims such as:
"God told me, to tell you that He's about to anoint you or bless you
with this or that" And the itching ear, gullible, naïve religious
audience goes wild.
Relationship with God
has been made accessible for all humanity through His Son, Yeshua
Messiah (a.k.a. Jesus the Christ). The prerequisite for such
relationship is having faith in God and being a disciple of Yeshua
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. [Proverbs 31:10]
Tammy is now a mother of three, and all her children are active in Sunday School. Her daughter is excellent when it comes to public speaking and reciting, even though she is only seven or so. It happened when Tammy, then an honor roll student in Sunday school was called upon to name the books of the New Testament. Holding the microphone firmly in her hand, Tammy began: "Ladies and gentlemen, these are the names of the books of the New Testament", and in a sing-song voice she began, "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, ask the woman".
Can I tell you - the whole church erupted into laughter. Tammy had called "Acts" and "Romans", "ask the woman". And now that I look at it, many years hence, many of the problems that plague our land will have to be brought to the attention of the women of this land.
In our selected scripture today, King Lemuel's mother gives him a lesson from a woman's perspective on becoming a man. She reminded him that for nine months she carried him in her womb, and promised God that she would bring him up in the way that he should go. She warned him in Proverbs 31:3 not to give his responsibility unto women and be no part of the plot to destroy leadership. We need women who will mend a family, rather than break a family.
The king had a good mother and prayed that others would be likewise blessed - not mothers who would tell their daughters to bring shame and disgrace on others, but women who would stand tall for God, decency, dignity and decorum - women who would walk down the aisle for love and not spite.
Proverbs is calling for women who will earn the respect of their families and the love of their husbands for their womanly deeds and loyalty, women who would be called blessed rather than be cursed, women who know what it is to be kind to their mothers-in-law and in-laws, on the whole. Proverbs calls for women who will stand tall for God, country and the entire brotherhood; it calls for women who will teach their daughters how to be good wives and caring mothers and women who, at the workplace, would be peacemakers, rather than strife dealers.
Who can find a virtuous woman? Look in the mirror today, sister, and in being honest with yourself. Ask if you are a woman on whom God can depend in these last and evil days. Are you that virtuous woman who can withstand the fiery darts of the wicked and flee from temptation when it approaches? Are you that virtuous woman who will be your sister's keeper and not her love stealer?
Today, women, let us be caring and not contemptuous; give and not count the cost. Do not let power go to our heads and feet to trample over others. Let us allow our husbands and significant others be the heads, as Christ is the head of the church. Let us be good here, there and everywhere. Let us read our Bibles, pray every day and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
God, I thank you. Your spirit is moving through our land. Arise, oh women of God, daughters of Jerusalem. Put on your beautiful garments of leadership, praise and goodwill. God has deposited in you all that it takes to become our virtuous woman. It is yours for the keeping if only you will stir up the wonderful, divine and powerful gift within you.
o E-mail email@example.com, or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's blessings!
"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them."
During the trials and tribulations of this life, Christians find solace in the cross of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Consequently, even though our troubles may bear us down, we have the confidence that Jesus is with us and that he will give us relief.
At the end of life's journey, Jesus our Shepherd brings us to a safe home where we will never have to feel pain and sorrow again. We will never have to worry about wars, and starvation, and man's inhumanity to man. Our tears will be dried. And finally, we can say like Saint Paul; "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" [I Cor. 15:57].
Metaphorically, in the above text, Jesus tells the people that he is the legitimate shepherd. The Pharisees did not agree with that. They were at odds with Jesus because they claimed to be the true pastors of the church.
The sheep pen about which Jesus speaks in the text, was made of stone. The walls were about five feet high, with briers running along the top of the wall, to keep out wild animals and thieves. Shepherds coming in from the wilderness at night would place their sheep in a sheep pen. These pens had an all night watchman.
Only a shepherd with sheep in the pen could enter through the gate. Any other person trying to enter the gate or scale the walls were thieves. When morning came the true shepherd would be allowed to pass through the gate into the pen to collect his sheep. His sheep would follow him because they knew his voice.
The people did not quite understand Jesus' metaphoric statement, therefore, he told them plainly, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. The gatekeeper to the sheep pen was the one who kept intruders out and allowed the legitimate shepherds in. The gatekeeper to the pen was the gate."
When Jesus speaks of those who came before him being thieves and robbers, he is not talking about Moses, the prophets and John the Baptist. He is speaking about the Pharisees who acted as if they were the gatekeepers to the kingdom of God. They did more to keep people out o the kingdom than they did to bring them in.
Like the sheep and the good shepherd, we know him and are aware that he is our shepherd and that he cares for us. When we have troubles, the good shepherd is our only hope.
Jesus is the shepherd who leads us into green pastures. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil because the good shepherd is with us.
He gives us comfort, even in the midst of a storm. When there is turmoil, we find peace and comfort in the Lord, the good shepherd. Yes, He provides pastures and quiet waters. Amen.
o Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone 323-4107; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.
Sunday, May 11 was Mother's Day - a holiday celebrated throughout the country.
Many mothers in The Bahamas were deserving of all the honors which were heaped upon them. I believe, however, that there are also many others who do not deserve any honor or praise.
This is because they have been grossly negligent in the parental duties and responsibilities entrusted to them by God.
Many mothers have failed The Bahamas as evidenced by the sheer number of young men who are incarcerated at Her Majesty's Prisons, the skyrocketing murder rate involving young men, the inordinate gang violence among young men, the resurgent illicit drug trade, juvenile delinquency and other antisocial activities which are chipping away at the fabric of The Bahamas.
Many will conclude that I'm being unfair towards women. Why I am not taking the men to task? I am not exonerating the men who are deadbeat fathers. It cannot be denied, however, that the overwhelming majority of homes are run by single mothers.
National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage told the press on May 6 that 80 percent of residents in over-the-hill areas live with single mothers with no male presence. Is it a coincidence that that area is perhaps the most violent and criminally-infested in The Bahamas?
More and more Bahamian women are simply opting to have children out of wedlock. The nuclear family structure is dying in this country, as evidenced by what is currently trending in the over-the-hill areas. On Mother's Day I asked a congregation if they had ever heard the name Susanna Wesley. To most, if not all in the congregation, the name didn't ring a bell. I then told them that she was the mother of John and Charles Wesley. She had 17 other children besides the two. John was the founder of Methodism and Charles wrote over 6,000 hymns.
The Wesley brothers made outstanding contributions to Christianity. Church historians credit Susanna Wesley for playing an important role in the founding of Methodism, due to the godly upbringing of her children.
On the day before Mother's Day, Cable Bahamas aired a movie which was produced in New Providence. The movie gave an accurate depiction of the gratuitous violence engulfing Nassau. One of the actors in the film is Carlos Reid, a youth activist and pastor. Based on his moving testimony, Reid himself was a gang banger before his conversion to Christianity.
His testimony reminds me of the story of Nicki Cruz, a Christian evangelist who was the leader of the violent New York gang in the 1950s, the Mau Maus. According to Cruz's autobiography "Run Baby Run", he was raised in Puerto Rico by his parents, who were heavily involved in spiritism and witchcraft.
It was in his teenage years that he was sent to New York to live with a family. He then ran away and joined the Mau Mau street gang. The gang terrorized New York and was greatly feared by the police.
Cruz experienced a dramatic and shocking conversion to Christianity under the ministry of the late David Wilkerson, the founder of Teen Challenge and Times Square Church in New York. Wilkerson chronicled Cruz's dramatic testimony and conversion in his book "The Cross and Switchblade". The book was made into a movie in 1970 by the same title starring Erik Estrada of television series "CHiPs" fame who played Cruz, and Pat Boone who played Wilkerson.
Over a decade ago I worked with a young man who loved bragging to me about his big brother - a violent gangster who terrorized Nassau in the 1990s. He was a legend in the underground world and was held in awe by other gangsters and drug traffickers. On a particular day, the young man and I were on a job in a ghetto community in Freeport, where we met a group of riff-raffs who were loafing around an apartment complex.
One of the riff-raffs cursed at me after I politely asked for the keys for the building. On our way back to the office, the young man proudly told me that had I been his big brother, the riff-raff would have never dared to curse at me. He also told me that the riff-raff didn't swear at him because they knew who he was related to.
I responded by telling him that I chose to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who didn't retaliate when he was mistreated by the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate. Moreover, there were about eight of them and only two of us. No doubt the group was armed and would have thought nothing of stabbing or shooting us.
In the course of time, the young man went to Nassau, where he stayed for about three years. When he returned to Grand Bahama, he had dramatically changed. He looked like a zombie and had a disheveled appearance. He didn't even seem to remember who I was, even though we had worked together for nearly a year. I then learned that he had witnessed one or more hitmen shooting his big brother to death. Apparently, his brother had raised the ire of a notorious and ruthless narcotics dealer and a bounty was put on his head.
And now because of his brother's bent towards violence, he lies in an early grave. He chose the switchblade philosophy, like hundreds of other young men in Nassau. I chose the cross of Christ, a philosophy my friend saw as unattractive before the violent demise of his brother. I think he understands and appreciates my position.
- Kevin Evans
Church members who look around and criticize the efforts of Christians who are trying to work for God, impedes the progress of the church said Father Jonathan Archer, rector at St. Paul's Parish in Clarence Town, Long Island as St. John's Parish celebrated its Patronal Festival.
It was the first festival of the year for one of the 11 Anglican churches found on the island. The sermon was preached to a packed church, as the priest told the members that it's not right for the critic to just sit back and laugh to themselves. He said that there are many people who seem to turn away from attending church because they fear what people who are considered Christians would say about them or to them.
In his text, Fr. Archer asked "Whom are you looking at?" as he made reference to the simple, yet profound section of scripture that comes from John's gospel chapter 21, verses 19-24. It's a passage of scripture in which Peter asks Jesus about the beloved disciple and author of this particular gospel and Jesus replies that John may remain alive until His return. News spread throughout the brotherhood that John would not die because Jesus loved him so much.
Fr. Archer shared with the congregation that John belonged to Jesus' interior cabinet of disciples and that he was always seen with Jesus during paramount times of Jesus' earthly ministry. He reminded the congregation that John gave them numerous epistles and that he wrote the last book in the Bible (Revelations) while exiled on the island of Patmos.
The priest reminded the members of how the apostle Peter had the audacity to ask about John before looking at himself after which time Jesus admonished Peter to follow him.
He told the congregation in jest that if Jesus was a Bahamian he would have told Peter, "mind your own business". And that Peter seemed to be jealous with the relationship that Jesus and John developed over the three short years. He referenced James and John's mother who came to Jesus asking that they both sit at Jesus' left and right hand.
Anglicans from St. Peter's in the north and St. Paul's in the south came together to celebrate the festival in St. John's Parish which is located centrally in the settlement of Buckley's. They sang ancient hymns of the church venerating the legacy of St. John the Evangelist, the beloved disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was a historic moment in the church as Fr. Chester Burton, rector of St. Peter's in north Long Island celebrated at the altar for the first time.
After the Eucharistic celebration members congregated to the Francis Darville Parish Hall, located adjacent to the church to share in table fellowship.
Christmas has always been the best time of year for me. Since I was a little boy I looked forward to Christmas with bated breath. Attending church to hear about the real meaning of Christmas, Christmas music, tree trimming, shopping for family and friends (and persons you simply wanted to put a smile on their faces) candy canes, Christmas trees, Santa Clause and toys all come to mind.
My parents made Christmas even more special. They really went out of their way to ensure that their children had a wonderful time. My siblings and I thank them for all their efforts for all those years. My wife and I try to do the same thing with our children. The look in their eyes and the excitement that abounds are identical and reminiscent of what I term "the good old days" for me.
I still get excited about Christmas. I start playing Christmas music from October of each year and stop on "the Twelfth Night". However, during the Christmas season and as we end another year, I do take the time to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead. On reflection, I thank God, as I always do, for his many blessings. But it was certainly a most difficult year. The economy continued to struggle with increased unemployment and businesses struggling to keep their doors open. Crime and the fear of crime have totally gone out of control. We do not live in a safe Bahamas and as each day passes it is increasingly difficult to say that it is truly better in The Bahamas. Rudeness, not kindness, seems to be the order of the day. Social ills are mounting and we seem not to be our brother's keeper. There is a lack of national pride in our beloved country and a total lack of respect for our environment. Somewhere we have gone wrong for such a once peace loving country that recently celebrated 40 years of independence. We must get back on track before we completely lose what is left of this place we call The Bahamas.
What we desperately need at this Christmas season and throughout the year is the "restoration of peace" - peace with God, peace with others and peace in our own hearts. Indeed, this season is about the arrival of the "Prince of Peace" who taught us in his word not only the way to peace but empowered us to live lives of peace if we trust him. Now it is incumbent on each of us to promote "peace on earth and goodwill towards men"; not only at Christmas time but all year-round. Yes indeed, the real spirit of Christmas is to have the state of mind to cherish peace and goodwill - to be plenteous in mercy. This is indeed my Christmas wish for the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
To all Bahamians everywhere, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous, healthy and safe 2014. May God bless us all and may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
- Branville McCartney, DNA leader
Funeral Service for Charlene Eloise Bethell, age 60 years, of Damien Walk West off Carmichael Road, will be held on Saturday January 14th, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Bede's Roman Catholic Church, No. 10 Sutton Street off Kemp Road. Officiating will be Father Noel Clarke. Interment will follow in Church of God Church Cemetery, Fowler Street.
Left to Cherish her memories are: her children: DeRon and Tyishia Bethell and Renauldo and Shenika Campbell; six grandchildren: Celine and Renauldo (RJ) Campbell, Nya Louis, Cardaijah Russell, J'Den Austin and Maleek Saunders; four brothers: Lionel, Leslie and Lenard Elliott and Lenard Sears; one sister: Sheri Elliott; numerous nieces and nephews including: Beverly, Marsha, Craig, Andrew and Tyrone Adderley, Khalil Elliott, Godfrey Jr., Jerome, Mario and Petty Officer Gregory Bethell; two grand nieces: Anishka Charlton and Judlicka Adderley; one grand nephew: Christopher Adderley; other relatives and friends including: Alcott Campbell, Terez McKenzie, Mermaid Blvd West Neighbours, family of the Nazareth Center, Ingrid McKenzie; and many others too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Butlers' Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Ernest and York Streets on Friday January 13th, 2012, from 10:00 a.m until 4:30 p.m. and at the church on Saturday January 14th, 2012, from 10:00 a.m. until service time