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Jamaica's proud contribution to the world; Faiths IN OUR CITY WITH PETE PENNANT PASTOR, LIGHTHOUSE CHURCH.

ON MONDAY, I gathered with thousands of people in a packed Victoria Square to witness the raising of the Jamaican flag.

We recognised and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. What a truly, amazing and historic event.

In this year of Jamaican independence, the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics, it is fitting to reflect on the remarkable contribution this beautiful island in the Caribbean has made to the UK and, indeed, the world.

Jamaica has given us sugar, aluminum, reggae, great sportsmen and women, cricketers and athletes, not forgetting the fastest man on earth Usain Bolt.

Yet Jamaica, I believe, has given us so much more. Perhaps all the stories have not yet been told.

Slavery was abolished in Jamaica on August 1, 1838, when Queen Victoria declared freedom for Jamaicans. It is celebrated as Emancipation Day.

However, Jamaica became independent on August 6, 1962.

As a colony of Great Britain, Jamaicans fought in major wars, willingly serving and laying down their lives for Queen and country.

In 1948, on request from the British government, Jamaicans and Caribbean peoples arrived in the UK to rebuild the country's economy, following the Second World War.

They worked extremely hard to develop and establish the transport systems, the coal industry and the National Health Service. My father was one of the many thousands who did so.

Most important for me is the spiritual legacy which Jamaicans and Caribbeans have created. The UK has been enriched by the founding and development of great, vibrant churches and organisations. These have - and continue to - play their part in tirelessly serving their communities, endeavouring to bring life, hope and much needed transformation for the better of society.

Jamaica's faith and trust in God cannot be denied. Her national anthem acknowledges God as her Eternal Father.

In line with the anthem and with respect to her past and present contributions, my prayer is that God may continue to bless this wonderful country. May He guard her, grant her light, vision, wisdom, knowledge, justice, truth, courage and strength to continue to be the great country she already is.

God bless Jamaica, the UK and the world would be a poorer place without her!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 11, 2012
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