The Crop Over Thanksgiving Service was held this morning at the St Barnabas Anglican Church under the theme Art of Celebration.
Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King, in an address to the congregation, said the Ministry plans to transform the island’s creative and cultural sector.
“With renewed vigor, we etch our policies into this work of art . . . This will begin with the transformation of some of its festivals and organisations, the marketing and export of our expertise and knowledge capital in the arts and the creation of more events to further stimulate the sector and the economy,” he said.
King calls on the nation to celebrate the island’s biggest cultural festival.
“In this art of celebration, we will solidify national harmony in the memories to be made, the events and music to be enjoyed, the competitions and prizes to be won, the camaraderie with friends, staff, patrons, partners, stakeholders, support services – all those people and things that will add the colour, texture, tones and shapes to this festival,” King said.
“We will herald in the new season with joyful songs of praises for the gifts of the present and with motivation for the future,” he added, while calling for blessings to be poured over the island’s cultural sector, namely the heritage and folk sectors, the music, the arts and the Grand Kadooment masquerade.
Meanwhile, Reverend Father Mark Harewood said that the presence of the church was most needed during the festival.
In his sermon, he referenced the gun violence that erupted along Spring Garden Highway during the final stretch of Grand Kadooment last year and stressed that God’s guidance and blessings were necessary in every aspect of life.
“There are certain Christian groups, especially as it relates to Crop Over and the festivities, [they] are not so enthusiastic about associating the church and its ministry and mission with aspects of the Crop Over Festival.
“. . . Some aspects, they see as not in keeping with Christian values and therefore why should the church be part of any blessing . . . [and] any thanksgiving?”
However, he contended that God was there to oversee and guide the masses.
“God has created us to be emancipated, to be free. Being free does not necessarily mean being free to do as you like but free to be creative . . . to determine ourselves . . . God has continued to speak to us and guide us throughout,” he added.