It was a somber mood at the James Street Methodist Church, James Street, The City, this morning, as the church recognized the contribution of National Hero Sarah Ann Gill.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde joined the congregation for a remembrance and wreath laying ceremony, at Gill’s grave site, on the church’s compound.
A historic perspective read by a member of the church, stated that as the Methodist community continue to celebrate 260 years in Barbados, the church is grateful to Gill for her contributions to Methodism and to Barbados. The perspective read that though persecuted, prosecuted, and faced with threats of death, Gill kept Methodism alive, educated the slaves and promoted religious and racial tolerance.
In her own words, she was “a stranger to fear”. She successfully challenged the powerful, self serving defenders of slavery, extending religion and education to the enslaved and advancing the abolition process.
The Gill Memorial Church was built at Eagle Hall in 1893, to honour her memory. It was replaced in the late 1980’s by the Ann Gill Memorial Church at Fairfield, Black Rock, St Michael. which was opened on August 26 1990. Her final resting place in the James Street Methodist Church is on property she provided to build the church.
Speaking to members of the media following the service, Bishop The Reverend Derick Richards, said Gill exemplified what it means to be a true Methodist through demonstrating her relationship with Jesus and her contribution to national development. Bishop Richards said the only female National Hero was on the side of justice, the down trodden and the weary.
“Sarah Ann Gill did all of that and today this wreath laying ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate her, but also to remind ourselves of who we are and how we need to be responding to the various challenges and social issues affecting Barbados. And so we are calling all Methodists and all Christians to do whatever they can to help make our society a better one,” he said.
Members of the Church Choir and Barbados Boys’ Scouts also participated in the brief ceremony. (AH)