St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush two weekends ago held another very successful annual Homecoming and International Day celebration, organizers say.
“This year’s Homecoming / International Day at St. Paul’s was a transformative experience,” said the church’s Barbadian-born pastor the Rev. Sheldon Hamblin, in a Caribbean Life interview. “Members represented 20 different cultures from around the world, including the United States of America.
“This is an exciting time for the church to fellowship with friends and family, and for members of the community who want to join in the celebration,” he added. “As the leader of the church, it shows me that, when we, as a people, come together as one large body, we can make a difference to move our community forward.”
The grand celebration, at the 180-year-old church in the heart of Flatbush, took place on Sept. 10 and 11, with a Homecoming Lecture on Sept. 10.
Byron Rushing, of the Massachusetts House of Representatives presented the lecture, entitled “African Americans in and out of the Episcopal Church: From Absalom Jones to Michael Curry.” Rushing is also House majority whip and vice president of the House of Deputies of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
On Sunday, Sept. 11, at 9 am, the Holy Eucharist was followed by a multi-cultural celebration, dubbed “International Food Festival.” Rushing was the preacher during the Holy Eucharist, which was presided over by Rev. Hamblin.
With the colors of their respective nationalities on display and adorned, hundreds of Caribbean and other nationals attended and participated in the Fourth International Day at the church.
Parishioners intermingled with family, friends and supporters, and participated in a host of cultural events in the church’s auditorium.
Patrons also sampled a variety of national dishes, including Jamaica’s achee and saltfish, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ breadfruit and saltfish, washing them down with mauby and ginger beer, among other local drinks.
Emceed by Vincentian “Sir” Denaro Liverpool, the cultural package comprised folk songs, dances, drumming, skits and steel pan music.
It featured, among others, St. Paul’s Dance Ensemble (Chinese); National Hymnal from Costa Rica; Dance from Guyana – “Won’t Go Back”; Skit from Jamaica; Anthem Dancers from St. Lucia; Singing from Barbados; and the National Anthem from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Registered Nurse Judith Lewis, a member of the vestry and co-chair of the committee, who hails from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, lauded Trinidadian Gemma Cureton, chair of the Cultural Committee, who is also leader of St. Paul’s Ensemble, for doing a “phenomenal job in pulling all the pieces together to make this celebration a success, with over 300 attendees.”
Countries represented at St. Paul’s are: Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Costa Rica; Cote d’Ivoire; Cuba; Ghana; Guyana; Grenada; Haiti; Liberia; Jamaica; Panama; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; South Africa; the Dominican Republic; Nigeria; the USA; Trinidad and Tobago; and Uganda.
St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush is located at 157 St. Paul’s Pl., Brooklyn.