Georgetown, Guyana (June 30, 2019): President David Granger, this afternoon, attended the 180th anniversary service of the All Saints Anglican Church, Main Street, New Amsterdam, Berbice where he told the congregation that the Church is a mission and not a monument.
The Head of State in his address said the Church has provided spiritual and material nourishment to the faithful and to the wider community of East Berbice-Corentyne while adding that “It has been an exemplar of Christian charity”.
“All Saints Anglican Church is an emblem of multiculturalism. Its congregations over the decades have included Africans, Amerindians, Chinese, Europeans and Indians as borne out by the Church’s records and the composition of today’s congregation,” he said.
President Granger noted that the Church’s multicultural character is evident though the prominent families with whom it was associated. The nominal roll of congregants includes the Allens, Archers, Baichoos, Brijmohans, Chungs, Dundases, Ganpatsinghs, Henrys, Ho Youngs, Kendalls, Kings, Odeens, Rambarrans, Sams, Steeles and many more, he said.
“The Church exemplifies its egalitarian character by showing that persons of different social strata, economic backgrounds and ethnic groups could come together to worship, support each other another and to serve the community. This Church is good example of how differences can unite rather than divide,” the President said while noting that the Church is part of New Amsterdam’s rich architectural heritage.
The National Trust has identified All Saints as one of the town’s thirty-nine historical sites. “We not only the congregation, not only the clergy, but also the government have a duty to preserve and protect it for posterity. All Saints Church celebrates, today, its 180th anniversary. Its survival helps to explain the initial intention of its construction and its impact and influence on Anglicanism and on the East Berbice-Corentyne.”
The President said All Saints Church has over the past 180 years shown its congregants that there is enough for everyone to be happy; that is no need for conflict or confrontation. “Social cohesion is about preserving human dignity; protecting the vulnerable and promoting harmony. The Anglican church has a vital role to play in building social cohesion,” the President added.
He noted too that All Saints has “a proud tradition of promoting social cohesion”. “It is closely-knitted faith community which has been of modest service to the Region. It built a school for the education of children in 1853. I commend the work of this Church and, particularly, the efforts of the Mothers’ Union,” the Head of State said.
All Saints will celebrate its bi-centenary in 2039 and the Church, the President said transformed itself in 1839 by opening its doors to adapt to the greatest demographic revolution that occurred in Guyana’s history.
“The Church must not be stuck in the past or, like the dinosaurs which failed to adapt, it will become extinct. This Church is not a museum or a monument. It has a mission that will be relevant for all time. It is a living mission.
Time does not stand still. Change everywhere – in this Church, in this congregation, in this country – is continuous. The Church needs no clearer guidance than the words of Jesus himself,” he stated.
In congratulating the Church on its anniversary, President Granger said it has helped to implant and promote the growth of Christianity in Guyana and particularly in the East Berbice-Corentyne Region.
“All Saints Anglican Church enhanced and enlarged Anglicanism in our country. It fostered inclusion by incorporating free Africans and, later, indentured immigrants into its congregation. It has become multicultural. Its programmes and ministries continue to promote social cohesion,” President Granger said while urging both leaders and congregants to be faithful to the aforementioned principles.
He commended the Church for its religious stewardship to this community and to this country. “I urge the Church, through its ministry, to continue to contribute towards the shaping of a society where differences are respected, the weak are assisted and where everyone, regardless of class or ethnicity, feels a sense of belonging,” he stated.