Persons at the Emancipation March on August 5, 2012.
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Some sections of the religious community are not in favour of the way some persons celebrate the Territory's emancipation festivities; however, one religious leader said it's time they stop sitting on the sidelines and help change what they are concerned about.
During the annual Freedom March and Emancipation Service at the Sunday Morning Well on August 5, Rev. Dr. Melville Turnbull, Chairman of the VI Heritage Month Committee said until this day, there are many persons who seem not to understand what the Territory is celebrating and why.
He said the committee has been leading the spiritual side of the emancipation celebrations for 15 years and over that time, they have faced many challenges.
"And I will let you know, to our shame, most of the challenges we have been faced with come from the religious community who do not seem to yet understand our purpose as the body of Christ. So let me speak to that momentarily," he said.
Dr. Turnbull urged persons from the religious community not to sit on the sideline and criticize. He outlined two ways they can step in rather than just criticizing.
"Now what a lot of people in faith have been saying to me and have been saying for many years, is that they do not like the way a lot of people celebrate. Well I simply say to them that people have their own expressions; however, if you think that there is anything wrong about how it's celebrated, then you cannot stay on the sideline and criticize, you need to get involved and demonstrate what true freedom is all about."
He added that one of the things that they must understand as people of faith is that it makes no sense to curse darkness.
"I strongly believe that if you see darkness and if there is darkness, the way to address it is to shine the light...Salt gets into whatever it's trying to preserve; now a lot of Christians cannot handle that, not every Christian can get into all the actions and keep their saltiness. So God gave you as it were a scape mechanism; so if you cannot be salt, be light and light does not have to necessarily have to go anywhere, it just has to shine and light dispels the darkness," he stated.
The theme for this year's Emancipation Festival is 'Bringing Back Our Cultural Past; Let's Celebrate BVI Festival With Class', while the slogan is 'Emancipation: A Golden Story To Tell; Enjoy VI Festival 2012'.