Religion integral to the Nation’s development- Granger

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– as Guyana celebrates 130th Anniversary of Adventism

This year marks the 130th anniversary of the emergence of Adventism in Guyana, and the Guyana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has organized a week of activities to commemorate this milestone.

Activities commenced on Sunday, March 19th, and will continue through the week, wrapping up on Saturday, March 25th. The Central Seventh-day Adventist Church kick-started the celebrations with a Rededication Service in honour of the

President Granger addressing the congregation during the observance of the 130th Anniversary of Adventism in Guyana
President Granger addressing the congregation during the observance of the 130th Anniversary of Adventism in Guyana

auspicious occasion.

The weekly church service was transformed into a grand showcase of reflection and celebration, while at the same time giving worship and praise to God, as Adventists from across the country and internationally gathered at the first Adventist Church to be constructed in Guyana.

President David Granger also participated in the service that commenced the start of activities to honour a significant moment in Guyanese history. During his address to attendees of that service, the Head of State congratulated the Adventists on achieving the landmark of 130 years of existence in Guyana. He pointed to some of the significant aspects of Adventism; emphasised the importance of what he deems the four pillars of life: home (family), church, school and farm (work); and noted that the Church’s core belief is that the Saviour (Jesus Christ) will be coming a second time – which inspires the active evangelical work of the Adventists.

Granger explained that Adventism is the result of Protestantism, which celebrates its 500th Anniversary this year as well. Further, he stated that Adventists have a strong tradition of reprinting Bibles at affordable cost, which ensures the Holy Scriptures are no longer just the property of the Church, but can be distributed to the masses.

“The Church is really at the four corners of our country,” President Granger said, as he pointed to the contributions of religion to the state. Granger indicated that through religious teachings and socialization, positive values are instilled in the younger generation, and they go on to shape the role of family (more especially men) in the development of society and the country at large.

During the event, honoured member of the congregation, Sister Gem Rohlehr-Vogt, presented the history of the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, which coincides with the emergence of Adventism in Guyana. She noted that then British Guiana was the first country in the stretch from Central to South America to officially recognize and establish Adventism as a denomination of Christianity. Rohlehr pointed out that the church came into existence as an extension of the Central Seventh-day Adventist organization which exists in Washington D.C. She noted that the Church was initially named ‘Georgetown’ but was renamed ‘Central’ in the 1980s.

Sister Vogt painted a timeline of the emergence and evolution of Adventism in Guyana, dating back to the early post-emancipation era. Gem Rohlehr-Vogt stated that Adventism reached Guyana in 1883 following several occurrences in America linking Adventism to British Guiana. She noted that the edict of late President James Monroe against European Colonial powers, better known as the Monroe Doctrine, saw the coming on Americans to Guianese soil. In 1886, tracks of biblical literature were scatter across the American Wharf (now America Street), and this resulted in spreading the knowledge of Adventism and later the development of Adventism in Guyana.

By 1912, about 100 persons were brought into what is now the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church through conversion by baptism. Later, more persons continued to be baptized, a Sabbath School was constructed, and Adventist Literature was copied and distributed, giving rise to the well establish community of Seven-day Adventists which currently exists. To date, more than 200 Adventist Churches have been constructed across Guyana.

The 130th Anniversary of Adventism in Guyana will continue to be honoured through the week with a heritage parade, evangelical parades, and the distribution of literature. More importantly, an “Adventist Heritage Village” has been set up at the Sophia Exhibition Complex, and will be opened to the public from 15:00hrs until 22:00hrs during the week of activities. Medical screening, drug distribution and dental checks would be available to visitors joining in celebrating this historic commemoration.