St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush, Brooklyn on the weekend of Sept. 7 and 8 celebrated its annual Homecoming & International Day Weekend.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for the entire community to experience the church’s vision to be a welcoming, Christ-centered, loving community,” the church’s Barbadian-born rector, the Rev. Sheldon N.N. Hamblin, told Caribbean Life. “This vibrant and inclusive Christian spirit resonated throughout the weekend celebration.”
The weekend of celebration began on Sept. 7 with a lecture by renowned scholar Dr. Bernice Jacqueline deGannes-Scott, a native of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. deGannes-Scott, is an Associate Professor of Economics at Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga.
Rev. Hamblin said the lecture, “Saving/Delayed Gratification from the Perspective of the Intersection of Race, Age and Gender”, was “enlightening, thought-provoking and dynamically-presented.”
He said some of the major points highlighted were disparities on the wealth gap and the importance of creating wealth within the African Diaspora community in this country.
“Interestingly, many in the audience concurred with her, as she referenced to the history of the ‘Soo-Soo’, which has its roots in West Africa, and how it still continues to play an integral part in our economic lives,” Rev. Hamblin said.
The next day, an International Food Festival followed the celebration of Holy Eucharist. Rev. Hamblin presided over the Holy Eucharist, and Dr deGannes-Scott was the guest homilist.
“She continued the momentum with a homily based on a reading from the Epistle Reading Philemon 1-21,” Rev. Hamblin said. “She presented this passage of scripture where her audience was able to reflect on love, faith and social standing by reflecting on the characterization of the Onesimus the slave, subtly reminding us that, as a marginalized people, we can and must exceed boundaries.
“From this scriptural allusion, we were able to draw associations from and make meaning of biblical times, making them applicable to our present day circumstances and lived experiences and the overall human condition,” he added.
Rev. Hamblin said parishioners then gathered to continue the fellowship with family, friends and supporters at the International Food Festival, where they sampled a variety of indigenous delicacies from the countries represented at St. Paul’s.
“This was all accompanied by the soothing and, at times, nostalgic melodies of young talented musicians playing the steelpan with verve and contemplation,” Rev. Hamblin said, adding that one visitor, Joanne Johnson, remarked that the musicians were “phenomenal” and that “they brought a sense of universality” to the event.
The countries represented at St. Paul’s include the US, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cote d” Ivory, Ghana, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Nigeria, Panama, Sierra Leone, South Africa, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.