Georgetown, Guyana – (October 04, 2015) Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally, has charged the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church to lead efforts in eradicating poverty and fostering social cohesion in Guyana. The charge was made at the 219th anniversary celebration of the founding of the church on Sunday morning.

Addressing the gathering, Minister Ally said that the church, since the beginning of time, has always played a role in the promotion of peace, assisting the poor and impoverished and bringing people of different backgrounds together.

She said that the observation of 219 years serves to celebrate the rich history of the church, counter despair and cynicism and calls for the recognition and reaffirmation of that which is great and generous and caring in the human spirit.

She noted also that it is still a responsibility of the church to ensure that the basic tenets of humanity are upheld.

“Biblically it was the church which had initiated the process of assisting those in poverty, the elderly, the sick and promoting the notion of a socially cohesive community, where persons would love each other as themselves. The church should address racial justice peace and harmony and this government has that on the agenda. It is of utmost importance to have the churches involved in the democratic process of a country. Now more than ever, religion will have a critical role to play in humanity and eradicating the challenges we face in the society,” Minister Ally told the congregation.

She further added that the church must ensure that it maintains a relationship with its society, which can aid in the achievement of the goal of the eradication of poverty and the promotion of harmony.

“The church should have a positive relationship with human kind. Our government has indicated that it is ready and willing to work with all religious organisations as well as members of the civil society to build a society where everyone is given equal access to social services such as; health, social services and education, towards the reduction of poverty,” Minister Ally said.

The Minister of Social Cohesion told the church that the new government was cognizant of the fact that religion plays a major role in society and as such, was prepared to ensure that this right is protected.

“I would like to assure you that the David Granger administration respects religious freedom and believes that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This is evident in the Constitution, which addresses ethnic, religious and racial insecurities and prohibits discrimination. We will continue to work to see that these are fully implemented and upheld,” she said.

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