'Mi nuh inna fridge stretch out stiff'

'Mi nuh inna fridge stretch out stiff'

Jamaicans welcome 2020 with thanksgiving

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Senior staff reporter
dunkleywillisa@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 02, 2020

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WHILE scores of Jamaicans were partying their way into the new year on Tuesday night, hundreds flocked different churches across the Corporate Area for services flavoured with an unmistakable theme of thanksgiving.

Retired teacher Curline Thompson was just one of the many participating in the crammed service at the Church of the Open Bible on Washington Boulevard, which was in high gear when the Jamaica Observer arrived at the location. A vibrant Thompson, clad in an outfit just as outgoing as her personality, had undergone a major surgery on December 8, 2019 and was beside herself with gratitude.

“The surgery started at 10:00 am and finished at 2:00 pm. Four hours, oh my gosh, can you imagine? Mi nuh inna fridge tonight stretch out stiff, I'm alive and well. My church was praying… the prayer worked and I'm here tonight to say, 'To God be the glory, great things he has done',” Thompson shared.

Disclosing that students whom she taught more than 30 years ago were part of the medical team that attended to her, as well as others who prayed for her, she had a word for teachers.

“All the teachers in the house tonight stand, because I have a message for you. I had students taking care of me in the ICU (intensive care unit). I am saying to teachers, you touch eternity, remember that. Don't take your job lightly as of today, every child you come in contact to teach, remember, you touch eternity,” Thompson said.

Another devotee, who gave her name only as Karen, said she had chosen to ring in the new year in a place of worship to show her gratitude for the year past and the one ahead.

“It's good to finish the year serving God because he is the one who carried us through the year, so we have to give him praises. Despite what people think, we didn't do it of ourselves, there is a God. I've been coming here over a year now,” she said, while eagerly heading into the building where congregants sang “thanks, thanks” lustily.

Members of the deaf community were also among those participating in the service, with the help of a sign language interpreter.

At the neighbouring Fellowship Tabernacle on Fairfield Avenue, parking was even more of a logistical nightmare than at other times. Once inside, the Observer was met with full pews in the service themed '2020 Vision for 2020'.

A youthful moderator counselled individuals, “You cannot out-dream God. Whatever personal dream you have, throw it weh; it cannot compare to what God has for you.”

During the service, which featured songs, dance and the spoken word, congregants were even treated to select clips from an inspirational movie as they awaited the dawn of the new year.

Some metres away at Faith Apostolic Ministries in Marverly Park, the service was in full swing as congregants worshipped with abandon, joining an energetic choir in praise. Handclapping, foot-stomping members took to the aisles, creating their own dance floor to the throwback tune being sung by the choir, leaving no doubt that the Lord had indeed “been good”.

One community member observing the proceedings from the fringes of the tent with his female partner in tow, shared that, while not a member of the church, he had been attracted by the robust service and had decided to attend.

“I'm from Drewsland; just enjoying myself to spend our new year. Mi go church all the while, but just come in from work and mi seh mi naw go nowhere else, and mi just head here so. I pass by regular[ly] and sometimes mi stop, so mi choose to walk up here tonight, it interesting,” he said.

Some moments after 11:00 pm at Jamaica Evangelistic Centre on Waltham Park Road, a capacity crowd formed a human chain of sorts, their singing interspersed by the hum of prayers as they awaited the chimes signalling 12:00 am and the dawn of the new year.

Over at Webster Memorial Church on Half-Way-Tree Road, packed pews also greeted the Observer. The Reverend Astor Carlyle urged individuals to let the Lord have his way in their lives.

Congregants selected pre-prepared verses of scripture from “baskets with promises” circulated just ahead of their countdown to 12:00 am and 2020, perhaps the most rousing segment of the sedate service.

Meanwhile, just before midnight at Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic) on South Camp Road, Elder Trevor Ferguson, delivering the final word for 2019, urged individuals to have hope.

“Joy comes in the morning; many of us faced challenges, trials, problems, setbacks, various issues that attacked us in 2019… As a result, many have shed tears… many thought they could not have made it out of the year… But thanks be to God, here we are tonight closing out 2019, on the brink of 2020, and we can lift our hands and declare, 'To God be the glory, great things he hath done',” he said.

“Weeping, sorrows, setbacks, troubles, and all such things are temporary… It's duration is defined, it has been given a set time and it cannot exceed that set time, so the problems we face are temporary,” Ferguson comforted.


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