Report on the bicentennial celebrations of the baptists of Trinidad and Tobago 2016



    On Sunday 13th March 2016, six different Baptist groups came together under the umbrella of the Gospel Baptists Association of Trinidad and Tobago (GBATT) to celebrate 200 years of Baptist presence and witness on the twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago.  Trinidad Baptists, with approximately 10,000 members in some 100 churches, trace their history back to 1816 with the arrival of a group of former slaves, former Marines and soldiers who fought on the side of the British during the American War of 1812-1814.


    Featured Speaker at the Grand Thanksgiving Service was Former President and General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Trinidad and Tobago, Former Caribbean Baptist Fellowship President and Commission member of the Baptist World Alliance, Rev. Dr. Victor Anthony “Ken” Cadette.  He both inspired and informed the packed auditorium when he compared the journey of the former slaves who had become soldiers and saints, to the biblical journey of the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt.  Just as they were set free and ‘crossed the Red Sea’ to the Promised Land so too the Baptists had been set free and ‘crossed the Caribbean Sea’ to their promised land.  He further exhorted the large Baptist gathering that just as the early pioneers brought their faith and planted churches so too we today must be faithful in spreading the Gospel wherever we go.


    Also in attendance were The Honourable Randall Mitchell, Minister of Public Administration in the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) government, The Mayor of San Fernando, Haji Kasim Hosein, Episcopal Bishop, His Lordship Rev Claude Berkley , Heads of various denominations including The Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies, The Open Bible Standard Churches, and the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. The Caribbean Baptist Fellowship (CBF) was represented by Vice President Mrs Bernadette Richards-Duncan and Mobiliser, Rev Brenda Kirton-Harewood.


    The event took place at the beautiful and spacious Sundar Popo Buparlal Hall of the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando.


    The Service started promptly at 3:00pm with the arrival of the Minister of Government and the Mayor. Following welcome remarks by Rev Anslem Warrick the Chairman of the Bicentennial Celebrations Committee and GBATT Director, the audience was ministered to through a wonderful mix of positive messages in songs and dance, poetry and spoken word all reminding of our rich heritage and proud history.


    Mr. David Kerrigan General Director of the BMS in his videotaped greeting celebrated the long and fruitful relations shared with the Trinidad Baptists reminding that even though the relationship had not always been smooth we still rejoiced in Gods faithfulness.


    Dr Neville Callam General Secretary of the BWA in his written greetings called to mind and celebrated all the men and women who had laboured among the Trinidad Baptists including William Hamilton, Nelton Richardson, Beryl Saunders, Norris Ryan and former BWA Communications Director Wendy Ryan. He encouraged historians to write this celebrated history for posterity.


    CBF Vice President Richards-Duncan brought greetings on behalf of the CBF and challenged the Baptists to keep the momentum alive by making the event an annual one.


    At the end of the program persons were heard giving thanks and praising God saying how proud they felt to be Baptist and how much they had learned about their history and identity.

    The Bicentennial Celebrations continue through the year with a Gala Dinner on 18th June 2016 and a National Church Growth Leadership Conference and book launch on 17th September 2016.


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