Swallowfield Chapel hails the mothers
Some laughed, some cried, others hugged their children as if seeing them for the first time.
The Swallowfield Chapel erupted in love as Shirley Caesar's 'I Remember Mama' ushered in Mothers' Day service last Sunday.
At least 200 stood proudly, singing along as the rest of the congregation gave them a hearty Mothers' Day "big up" — one enriched with kisses, and well-wishes.
It was their day. And each received a nicely wrapped token to prove it.
But the six standing on the podium — Jescinth Williams, Sandra Johnson, Christine Hamilton, Margaret Bartley, Rosyln McKenzie, and Sharon Gordon-Somers — seemed the true stars. They were the single mothers, recipients of a special commemoration from the Divine Inspired Victorious Anointed Sisters of the church, the DIVAS. Dr Heather Dawn Lawson-Myers, head of that church group, presented the awards.
This was the early service, and seven more single mothers were to be honoured during the 10:00 am service later that morning, Lawson Myers said.
Church sister Keeva Ingram — who throughout the proceedings "excused" fore and aft with two 'little ones' — offered her interpretation of the word Mother. 'M' was for the evergoing "Machine", 'O for the life-saving "Oxygen", 'and 'R' for the "Radical". Those letters seemed most interesting for the congregation which responding with chuckles and sighs.
After the 'niceties', however, sister Suzanne Sang, in a touching Mothers' Day message, placed the praises where she saw fit, and reached out to those "carrying burdens for their mothers."
"We come today to celebrate our mothers but there is one person who to me deserves the glory and the praise, above all else, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords," said Sang. "Because he is the God of my mother. I would not be who I am unless I had a mother who prayed. The saviour Jesus Christ ... he is a God for me and for you."
"So I ask today, do you know Him? Do you know the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And I'm not talking about reading about him in a book; I'm talking about having a personal relationship with Jesus," she said, urging the men of the church to play their role in uplifting the women, the mothers of their children.
"And to all the children, you may not have a good relationship with your mother. There are so many stories, but the truth is, God is a God of redemption, He is a healer, and He will heal relationships," she continued. "So if you don't have a good relationship with your mother or it may not be the best or you may have been abandoned by your mother, there is freedom in this place for you today. And there are some mothers here who are hurting, who are burdened, who are tired. God wants to refresh you today," she stated.
Judging by the general "laid-back" atmosphere of the church - a congregation in which many wore jeans and T-shirts to worship - it seemed that Sang was speaking to a family reunion. And as she spoke, each member of the church cheered her on with nods and whispers of support.
Earlier, Christopher Senior, one of the elders of the church, offered a prayer for those church members who were ill and hospitalised. He asked God to bless them, and also the children who beg at intersections around the Corporate Area; those students, who are preparing for examinations; and also the gangsters, so that they may refrain from further plunging Jamaica into disrepute.
A graceful barefooted dancer, skipping through the church aisles, twirling her multicoloured cape, gave hope, in some unintelligible way, that those prayers would reach God's ear.
Pastor David Henry, head of the church, told the Jamaica Observer that the institution is made up of "core-followers of Christ" with a mission of "making disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is God's instrument for the healing, the salvation and transformation of societies. Our role is to provide guidance for persons to come to know God," he said, noting that the church is very active in many family-focused and community outreach initiatives.
Regarding Sunday's Mothers' Day service, Henry said that it was worthwhile, especially because mothers are the backbone of Jamaica's society.
"Our mothers have literally been the backbone of our society, a significant percentage our families in Jamaica have single mothers," he said. "Its really about the mothers, but we are also concerned about the restoration of families. And I wish you could come back for our Father's Day celebrations," he said.
Asked about the 'laid-back' dressing at the church, Henry said: "That's intentional. We believe in the model of Christ, and he did not hold it over people; he came to serve. And we believe that our core is service," he said.