By Fabia Phillips-Lawrence(EJC)
Published | January 13, 2014
Persons in the heart of Half-Way-Tree in St. Andrew and its environs were forced to stop and take in the unusual scenery of various uniformed groups and church persons marching to the beat of drums and bellowing trumpets, skilfully manipulated by those donning the instruments.
It was a Sunday afternoon and the brilliant sunshine was not a deterrent for the curious onlookers as the marching band sparked their interest. These persons couldn't help but carry out their own investigation on what was taking place which was executed through observation. To their surprise the sound they heard wasn't coming from one direction, but from four. Their attention was now divided as they marvelled about the execution of the event. By now someone had placed in their hands a flyer introducing them to the public launch and road march of Metro Mission 14 (MM14), a campaign dubbed "Hope for the City."
The drum corps coming from the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Headquarters arrived in the Half-Way-Tree square first followed by the group marching from the Half-Way-Tree SDA church. Next up was the team from the Kencot SDA church and then the one from the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre which was followed by a large decorated trailer with gospel music blasting.
All four groups reached within a short time span mere minutes before the designated arrival time of 4 p.m. The converging of the marchers fuelled excitement as some church members confessed to experiencing a body tingle. To organizers the euphoric experience made the headache of planning the massive event all worth it.
By this time the emcees had introduced the marching groups which soon lost their uniformity as they bungled and turned their attention to the large stage which was erected near the monumental clock in the square.
The launch of the Mega City humanitarian and evangelistic initiative started attracting more persons to add to the large gathering which listened to the plans to be implemented by the East Jamaica Conference of SDA which is spearheading the initiative. Behind the scenes coordinators from different churches had been working feverishly for hours to get uniformed groups and church members to strategic locations via the Jamaica Urban Transit Company JUTC buses and private motor vehicles. It was shortly after 3 p.m that the groups started organizing themselves into lines as they communicated with other groups elsewhere in the city in an effort to arrive in the square in synchronicity. Mission accomplished, now it was time to enjoy the planned programme.
There was a powerful line up of singing evangelists whose performance whipped the crowd into a frenzy and further caused its expansion.
The President of the Jamaica Union of Seventh-day Adventist JAMU, Pastor Everett Brown in giving an overview of MM14 emphasized that the assistance of each church will be sought to execute the various projects of the campaign. "We need to reach every person in Kingston...we need to reach every home. No city, no town, no street must be left untouched. We need to make the city a better place to live," he said.
In giving the charge for the afternoon, the Personal Ministries & Sabbath School Director for JAMU, Pastor Glen O. Samuels gave biblical analogies such as Nicodemus who was told he needed to be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God. He told the crowd gathered which was now hushed, "There are some things money can't give. Nicodemus was told that he needed to be transformed... Somebody here needs a new start. You are tired of struggling...The amazing thing about the call of Jesus, no matter how tied up you are, if you just hear, he will deliver."
The sun had set and darkness was approaching as a call to commitment was made following the charge. Several persons responded and filled out commitment cards which were made available prior to the closing prayer.
The road march and rally which resulted in the diversion of traffic for hours from the major thoroughfare reportedly ended incident free.