Fam­ily with voices

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Orantes Moore Gleaner Writer

GAYLE, St Mary: THE GAYLE Po­lice and Cit­i­zens In­ter­ac­tion Awards Cer­e­mony, which took place re­cently at the True Mis­sion­ary Church in Lucky Hill, St Mary, fea­tured many high­lights, but a group of lo­cal gospel singers were ar­guably the most en­ter­tain­ing.

The event, which was held un­der the theme ‘Recognising our Lo­cal He­roes,’ proved to be a dou­ble cel­e­bra­tion for the fam­ily group from nearby Jef­frey Town, as in ad­di­tion to per­form­ing, sis­ters Oshea and Rac­quel Thomas both col­lected awards for their com­mit­ment to com­mu­nity ser­vice work.

Af­ter de­liv­er­ing a thor­oughly mov­ing ren­di­tion of Till the Storm Passes, lead vo­cal­ist and the sis­ters’ mother, Max­ine So­lay-Ri­ley, praised the event’s or­gan­is­ers and pleaded for res­i­dents to help de­velop safer and more co­he­sive com­mu­ni­ties by work­ing closer to­gether.

GOOD RE­LA­TION­SHIP

She told Fam­ily and Re­li­gion: “Events like this, which pay trib­ute to lo­cal cit­i­zens and the po­lice, are very im­por­tant. For one, to­day’s main theme was about how im­por­tant it is for cit­i­zens and the po­lice to in­ter­act, in­ter­face and de­velop a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship, so that peo­ple can feel a sense of se­cu­rity and free­dom.

“You should be able to freely deal with the po­lice from both a se­cu­rity point of view and a hu­man stand­point. Peo­ple should not just see them as peo­ple to dread, even though that might be the case in some in­stances. But there are also po­lice of­fi­cers who are great hu­man be­ings.”

So­lay-Ri­ley, who has been a mem­ber of the New Tes­ta­ment Church of God in Jef­frey Town for the last 35 years, be­lieves that for St Mary to reach its full po­ten­tial, the parish’s many churches would have to in­te­grate much fur­ther and deeper.

She ex­plained: “Je­sus Christ lived

and while He was on Earth taught that unity was very im­por­tant. All of us, in spite of our creed or doctrine, are one in Christ. So if we are rep­re­sent­ing Christ, who Him­self ex­hib­ited [unity], then of course, we should be united.

COM­MON CAUSE

“I’m not sure there are any real reli­gious is­sues in St Mary, but I would like the reli­gious groups to be united in a real way and sense to the point where it would not be an is­sue for them to put aside their agen­das and come to­gether for a

par­tic­u­lar assem­bly, day, or com­mon cause.”

The charis­matic singer, whose favourite Scrip­ture pas­sage is Philip­pi­ans 4:13, added: “I think there is a lot more that can be done, and an event like this is a good ex­am­ple be­cause no de­nom­i­na­tion was re­ally rep­re­sented here, but Chris­tians were very much in­volved, and if you no­tice, no­body went up to say ‘I am from this or that church,’ so we see that to­day, by ex­am­ple, there is some amount of unity for a com­mon cause.”

PHOTO BY ORANTES MOORE

From left: Gospel singer Max­ine So­lay-Ri­ley with her daugh­ters, Oshea and Rac­quel and Thomas, and sis­ter Stephanie Henry at the Gayle Po­lice and Cit­i­zens In­ter­ac­tion Awards Cer­e­mony in Lucky Hill, St Mary.

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