Freedom of worship is an inalienable, irreversible right -President tells congregation at St. Peter’s African Apostolic Church at Eccles
Georgetown, Guyana – (November 26, 2017) President David Granger, today, said that the right to freedom of worship of all churches is an inalienable and irreversible right, which will continue to be respected by his Government. Speaking at the Re-dedication Ceremony of St. Peter’s African Apostolic Church at Eccles, the Head of State reminded the congregation of Article 145 (1) of the Constitution, which states that “Except with his or her own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her own freedom of conscience [which] includes freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his or her religious belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and private, to manifest and propagate his or her religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
“What you are doing here today, is exercising your constitutional right as citizens of Guyana… Nobody must ever take that freedom away from this church. The Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council and you the members of this congregation are valued members of society, valued members of the family of faithists to whom legal and constitutional protection is guaranteed,” he said.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the emergence of the ‘faithist’ movement in Guyana as well as the 44th anniversary of the founding of the Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council. President Granger explained that during the colonial period, the Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council and other ‘faithist’ sects were not accorded official recognition. In fact, they were even spurned by the traditional
Christian churches due to a lack of understanding of their faith and beliefs, as many of them saw the way of worship as irreligious. However, the national government, which took office in 1964 after Independence was opposed to religious discrimination and upheld citizens’ constitutional rights. Today, Guyana enjoys a high level of tolerance and inter-religious harmony.
“I’ve come here to reinforce the message of the Government and message of my certitude and belief in the sincerity of your faith. We must not encourage in our children, we must not encourage in people of other faiths, the type of ridicule and derision that existed in colonial times. This is serious, sincere belief in the power of almighty God… Let us keep the flame of faithism burning strong,” President Granger said.
The Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council is part of the rich, socio-religious and cultural heritage of Guyana. In 1917 in Agricola, Elder Nathaniel Jordan started what became known as the Jordanite faith. His followers became known as ‘Jordanites’, who are considered the forerunners of the Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council.