Members of several communities and cultures in the city recently participated in the second Homecoming and International Day at St. Peter’s Episcopal church in Rosedale, Queens.
According to Monica Carrington and Yvonne Robinson, Trinidadian and Guyanese nationals, respectively, coordinators of the event, hundreds, as well as officers and officials from the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), attended the extravaganza on Sept. 14.
“Tents were beautifully decorated in the various country colors, and the highlights of the day began with the Sunday school children marching in with flags from 17 countries and presenting them to their various representatives,” Carrington and Robinson told Caribbean Life.
They said dignitaries receiving flags on behalf of their country was Sen. James Sanders for America; Juliana Mahie Sehi Doukoure, vice consul of Cote d’Ovoire (Ivory Coast); Denise Donaldson, vice consul of the Consulate General of Jamaica; and Andre Laveau, consul general of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Various other personnel received flags on behalf of the other countries, during which time each country’s National Anthem was played,” they said.
Carrington and Robinson also said the anthem for Trinidad and Tobago was played on steel pan, and that each country’s representative addressed the ceremony briefly.
The countries which participated in the event were: America, Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Martinique, Nigeria, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
While hundreds sampled the international cuisine, they were entertained by Elite One Steel Orchestra and DJ Josa, the organizers said.
They said the talent show was an admixture of “American stepping” and music — calypsos from Barbados, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Performers included Guyana folk song and dancers; Haiti cultural presentation; Cuba, Ivory Coast and Nigeria fashion shows; Jamaican Kumina dancers and folk singers; Panamanian exhibition of national dresses; Martinique music; St. Kitts and Nevis poem and music; and Trinidad and Tobago children parading in costumes to soca and steel pan music.
Carrington and Robinson said children sang “We are the World,” dedicating the song to the people of the Bahamas, whose country was ravaged by the recent passage of Hurricane Dorian.
“Throughout the program, we reminded all in attendance of the importance of helping our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas, and informed them St. Peter’s is a drop location for Bahamas hurricane relief assistance,” they said.
“We opened and closed the event with prayers from our rector, Fr. Steve Foster (Barbadian-born),” Carrington and Robinson said.
The organizers said St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, located at 137-28 244th St., Rosedale, in the southeastern section of Queens, is part of the Anglican Communion, “sharing a common heritage in the tenets of the Church of England.”
They said St. Peter’s has been the center of a vibrant Christian faith and worship since 1907.
“Today, our congregation of 175 families consists mainly of immigrants from the Anglican Church of various Caribbean nations currently residing in Rosedale and the neighboring communities,” Carrington and Robinson said.