The inclement weather did little to dampen the spirits of Ministers, legislators and guests, at the 21st annual Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast this morning (Wednesday, 3 June 2015).
Led by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, they joined together in prayer and fellowship at the Westin Ballroom, where they also heard from the guest speaker about the role of religion in Caymanian culture and its importance to local youth culture.
After a warm welcome from the Speaker, Hon. Juliana O'Connor Connolly, Rev. Godfrey Meghoo said an opening prayer, which was followed by a reading from Deuteronomy by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. W. McKeeva Bush. He also paid tribute to Caymanian stalwart, Dr. Edlin Merren, who recently passed away and who started the prayer breakfast in the early 1990s.
Before reading from the Old Testament, Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, decried a tendency by some people to put down certain aspects of Caymanian culture, such as the faith embodied in the national motto, He hath founded it upon the seas. "We must resist [this] with every fibre," he urged, rejoicing in the fact that the separation of state and church is not absolute in the Islands.
Chief Justice Hon. Anthony Smellie read from the New Testament reminding participants why they were called to public office.
Continuing with a prayer for national leaders, Pastor Joanna Clarke called on them to "crush any attempt to circumvent righteousness and justice."
Participants expressed the greatest appreciation for inspiring words by guest speaker, Mr. Glarman Grant, who was introduced by Councillor Winston Connolly. A Senior Customs Officer, Mr. Grant is also an Assistant Pastor ministering to youth at Countryside Church of God in East End.
He electrified the audience with a passionate plea to put the Cayman Islands' children and youth first, since without them "there will be no tomorrow".
Tackling the theme of the relationship of youth with God in a changing world, Mr. Grant underscored the "vibrancy, intelligence and liveliness" of Cayman's youth, the vast majority of whom are "upstanding, bright young people" with the potential to blossom into fine adults.
Mr. Grant continued: "A meaningful measure of their development is surely the acknowledgement of the importance of God as an integral force in our lives in the Cayman Islands. Whether or not we diligently practise daily prayer, we are a God-fearing community and we have long instilled this into our children; indeed, they absorb these sentiments from the crib."
Despite the Cayman Islands' rapid and irreversible development into a diverse, cosmopolitan community, religion has remained a strong and stabilizing force, that has helped people to stay rooted within a cohesive community, he asserted.
He also highlighted the duty of adults, parents, guardians and community leaders to make religion meaningful to children early in life. In particular Mr Grant encouraged adults to acknowledge and answer young people's questions and help them move forward.
Noting that service to God is not by prayer alone, he said, "Let us enable them to see that they can honour God in many ways - through their actions, diligence, enthusiasm and the joy that they can bring to their studies, their work and their positive involvement in our community."
"Don't push them down - our young people need our encouragement. There is no telling what God can do with even a lump of clay," he added.
Pastor Andrew Ebanks led a prayer of thanks; Councillor Joey Hew proposed a vote of thanks, after which Pastor Cassius Feare said the closing prayer.
Musical renditions were by Mr. Andrew Ramdon, Mr. Nicholas DaCosta and Ms Kaitlin Michelle Scott.
For further information contact: Bina Mani