Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
The Virgin Islands Heritage Month Committee is gearing up to host their three annual events as part of their contribution to the Virgin Islands Festival celebrations, pointing out that the involvement of the church is a good thing.
The first event is the Gospel Fest at the Claudette 'Boopie' Smith Festiville on July 26. The event will feature Positive from Trinidad, Judith Gayle from Jamaica and Isabel Valdez from the Dominican Republic, along with a number of local acts.
The Gospel Fest will be followed by a Freedom March and Emancipation Service where the guest speaker at both events will be Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr., a vibrant pastor from the United States.
Dr. Melvin Turnbull told BVI Platinum News that the committee is responsible for the spiritual side of the emancipation celebration.
"I think everybody by now understand that the celebration started with the church; the amalgamation of the Methodist and Anglican churches," Dr. Turnbull stated.
He said that people do not understand that there is nothing secular of emancipation.
"First of all, emancipation is not just for a certain set of people; it is for all the people of the Virgin Islands. What some people might be referring to is the way people choose to celebrate. People have different expressions of celebrations. Many of them do not understand, but because of our involvement, we have been able to shift the focus to emancipation so that people understand what exactly is being celebrated," Dr. Turnbull pointed out.
He added that God is everywhere and the Bible says that "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and the church ought not to be afraid to go anywhere for as long as it represents Jesus Christ".
"The church is in the middle and that is a good thing because we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Yes, we are distinct, but we are not isolated. In order to reach the world we have to go where the world is. We don't become a part of the word because we are not of the world, but we have a message to take to the world. I can't help but do what the master says - go ye into all the world and preach the gospel", Dr. turnbull pointed out.
He shared that he has seen lives changed, especially during the Gospel Fest show, pointing out that one particular year he saw seven that made profession of faith for Jesus Christ.
"I have had testimony from people on the side and behind the scenes who have told me what you are doing is a great thing pastor; let us all come together and continue because my life has been blessed. If the church is in the middle it's a good thing, because that's where the church belongs," Dr. Turnbull stated.