President joins Den Amstel village at church’s 170th anniversary – opposition leader also present

Georgetown, GINA, September 4, 2013

 

President Donald Ramotar and opposition leader David Granger joined in fellowship with members of the Den Amstel Ebenezer Congregational Church as it commemorated its 170th anniversary with an evening service.

 

The celebration began with a parade march from the old church site at Blankenburg to the present location. A vehicle with speaker boxes playing gospel music led the contingent of celebrants.

President Donald Ramotar with a group of children at the Ebenezer Congregational Church at Den Amstel during its 170th anniversary celebration

 

The church is replete with history dating back to the nineteenth century when it was first established, and like several other heritage sites in Guyana, the Ebenezer Congregational Church survived the era of slavery, emancipation and independence.

 

 

The atmosphere brought back fond memories for President Ramotar who was christened in the congregational church during his childhood years in Karia Karia, a tranquil village along the Essequibo River.

President Donald Ramotar sharing a light moment during his remarks at the Ebenezer Congregational Church during its 170th anniversary celebration at Den Amstel , West Coast Demerara

 

Sharing some of these memories with the congregation, President Ramotar recalled the active role his mother played in the church, his grandfather whom he never met, and who performed the role as a deacon, and some of the popular hymns.

 

His admiration about congregationalism also related to the dual role it played in standing on the side of the poor and promoting spiritual development during the era of colonial hegemony.

 

 

“Some of the most important heroes of our country came out of this church. Quamina… the hero of the 1823 Demerara uprising that actually put the final nail in slavery and even the white colonialists who came. Those who stood on the side of the people were those who came from this congregational church. John Smith is the most famous example,” President Ramotar said.

President Donald Ramotar and Opposition leader David Granger with Rev Valeska Austin, the first female pastor of the Ebenezer Congregational Church at Den Amstel during its 170th anniversary celebration

 

As it marked another important anniversary, President Ramotar is looking to the church for advocacy on some of society’s ongoing challenges. He made reference to domestic abuse and poverty which he drew a close connection to drugs, alcohol and criminal activities to which the nation’s youth are most susceptible.

 

“ We will try to work to ensure that our state functions better to deliver justice and security  to our people, but as I have said, we cannot do it alone and I am happy to partner with the church, with other religious organisations, with civil society, with political parties… I have to work every day on the assumption that all of us want to have a better life for our people,” President Ramotar said.

 

 

He also sees the role of the church in helping to fulfill his long dream of writing the history of Karia Karia where there is a wealth of background knowledge about congregationalism.

President Donald Ramotar and Opposition leader David Granger with Rev Valeska Austin, the first female pastor of the Ebenezer Congregational Church at Den Amstel during its 170th anniversary celebration

 

A scripture reading from Matthew Chapter 13 ended President Ramotar’s remarks leaving behind an inspirational message for the congregation. It reads;

 

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.”

 

 

Among those present were Minister within the Ministry of Finance Juan Edghill, the first female pastor of the Ebenezer Congregational Church Rev. Valeska Austin and Den Amstel Neighbourhood Democratic Council Chairman George Nedd.

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