The Nature of God

Reading Association [ 1 John 01:5-9 ; Matthew 05:15-16 ]

Discipleship as Glowing Waters

There are plankton or small and microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea or fresh water all over the world with unique abilities.  They can give off light; and the spectacular display of brightness and vivid colours is an awesome sight to behold.  Puerto Rico, Mauritius and Jamaica are some of the countries that experience the beautiful light show from bioluminescent or star like plankton.

Science explains that plankton gained the ability to light up when they are threatened by predators.  The idea is that the sparks of light would startle their would-be attackers, giving the plankton a chance to escape.  I guess these are the measures one must take when one is in demand on the food chain.  Plankton have become so sensitive to predators that they now glow for almost any kind of movement in their vicinity: from a hand wading in the water to waves crashing against the rocks. With all these motions taking place continuously, it is even more spectacular when you realize that the plankton never tire of glowing; and even seem to glow brighter as more activities take place around them.

Is it not amazing and wonderful how nature easily performs the tasks that God wants us to do as his children?  As we go through life each day we are faced with so many movements and activities around us – whether good or bad.  A hand stirring the water for the plankton could be a lost job opportunity or a departed loved one for us.  The waves pushing the plankton against some jagged rocks could be for us an approaching hurricane or an unknown depression.  God desires that we as disciples glow brightly even during these trying times by praying constantly, giving thanks for all the good things He has done, smiling at the world even if it frowns at us; and even helping our enemies as they plot against us.  It is tough to “let your light so shine” (Matthew 05:15-16) on earth but we must realize that with God’s help we can overcome any hurdle.

However, the plankton also glows when the motions are not threatening.  God desires us as intentional disciples to light up the world during the good times as well.  What may be gentle waves could be our new born baby, finally being able to pay off the mortgage, getting some alone time, and, being able to see the beauty in the world around us.

As disciples of Christ our lamps must always be burning brightly (1 John 01:5-9), letting everyone around us know that we all are children of God and that we are happy to be a part of God’s family. Let us endeavor to glow like the bioluminescent plankton and strive to have a better and even closer walk with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Amen.

About This Blog

A team of nature-lovers who have come together to write about those things that we see happening naturally around the world which can help us to action the Word of God.  It is meant to enlighten, to initiate, in provide different perspectives, to inspire others whilst keeping the reading content to manageable bite sizes.  Leave your comments and questions below.  We would love to hear from you.

 

The Nature of God

Reading Association [Psalm 24; I Cor 12; Ephesians 02:10; 1 Peter 04:10 – 11]

The Eye Of The Owl

So, what I had found out recently is that all owls have amazing vision since they do not have eyeballs but rather have “eye tubes” [mother nature network: mnn.com].  These tubes are elongated and therefore can detect motion and differences for great distances.  They allow the owl to see prey and/or danger long before they even know of the owl’s presence which is especially effective during the nights.  Also, note that since the owl’s eyes are forward facing it means that they have binocular vision like humans which gives them better depth perception.

However, due to the size and structure of an owl’s eye, it is able to swivel/move the eyes from side to side or up and down within the “sclerotic rings” that they are held in place by.  Which is why the owls give thanks for “swivel necks”.  Owls swivel neck is just a summarized way of saying that they have more vertebrae in their necks; they have alternate blood vessels to their heads, blood pooling systems and air-cushioned vessels which translate to the fact that their heads can turn 135 degrees in either direction giving them a full 270 degrees of view.

This shows how the owl relies upon many of its features working in unison to survive each day.

Similarly, as Christians, our talents are meant to work together with the talents of others to accomplish great tasks (I Cor 12).  A speaker who can make persons see the beauty of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may not have the skills to get the same people to come to their presentation(s) and therefore will rely on others with strong social, missionary and even marketing skills to help gather the flock.  A social church member may be able to serve food well to the elderly but may not know anything about preparing those meals as much as another member who is a talented chef; and that talented chef may not know about gathering ingredients for the dishes at an economical cost in the same way that a taxi-driver might.

All missions that are given to us through Jesus Christ usually require the involvement of a team of persons with varying skill sets and talents working together for one common goal.  The Bible says that each talent from each person is important to completing any job and especially the Lord’s work (Ephesians 02:10; 1 Peter 04:10 – 11).  As a body of Christ I pray that we strive to be like the owl; whereby it employs its many talents to help in his survival; so too can we bring together our many talents to praise God and bring others even closer to Him who is our hope and our salvation. Amen.

 

About This Blog

A team of nature-lovers who have come together to write about those things that we see happening naturally around the world which can help us to action the Word of God.  It is meant to enlighten, to initiate, in provide different perspectives, to inspire others whilst keeping the reading content to manageable bite sizes.  Leave your comments and questions below.  We would love to hear from you.

 

do not be afraid, I am

In another month and a half we will start the hurricane season. The season is a time of living on the edge. Yet, it is also a time of heightened preparation. In the midst of living on the edge and the preparation is the voice of the silent God in Jesus Christ who says, “do not be afraid, it is I” or more precisely “do not be afraid, I am.” In this latter sense, the reader is transported back to the liberation of the people of Israel in the book of Exodus. There God announces the divine name as I AM (Exodus 3). In the Gospel according to John Jesus is announced as the I am in chapter 6. Faced with a storm at sea the disciples surrendered to I AM and got to shore safely. In a similar way we too will be caught in the storms of life; not just during the hurricane season but throughout our lives. Trust in the presence of God, as the disciples did, while still working for peace and calm, is sufficient to get us safely through the storms of life.

 

Easter Vigil 2017

“The court declares that sections 13 and 16 of the [Sexual Offences Act] are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void,…”

RULING AFFIRMS THE RIGHT TO HUMAN DIGNITY BY ALL – PANCAP

Friday, 13 April, 2018 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, welcomes Judge Devindra Rampersad’s ruling which states: “The court declares that sections 13 and 16 of the [Sexual Offences Act] are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalise any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults.”

The ruling in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago acknowledges that every individual regardless of their race, colour, gender, age or sexual orientation has the right to human dignity.

This ruling is aligned with PANCAP’s Justice for All Programme which calls for the establishment of procedures to accelerate the process for the repeal of laws decriminalising sexual acts in private between consenting adults and replace with or retain the provision criminalising sexual acts between any person in public, with the use of force, and acts of indecency committed against any person of less than 16 years of age.

PANCAP reflects on one of the recommendations of the Regional Consultation of Faith Leaders in February 2017 in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which acknowledged areas of litigation that may challenge religious values and the responses required to harmonise principles and practices around human rights, human sexuality and human dignity. In handing down his decision, Justice Rampersad said that the ruling however is “not an assessment or denial of the religious beliefs of anyone …However, this conclusion is a recognition that the beliefs of some, is not the belief of all”.

PANCAP therefore encourages continued dialogue between the Faith Community and the LGBTI community on areas of agreement and commonality.

 

PANCAP Champions urged to use collective influence to help end AIDS

Wednesday, September 13 2017 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, relaunched the Champions for Change initiative during a ceremony on Tuesday, September 12 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Georgetown.  

 

Sixteen advocates for ending AIDS from across the region within civil society organisations, National AIDS Programme Managers, faith leaders, academia, youth, regional parliamentarians were recognized by PANCAP for exceptional work in advocacy.     

 

The highlight of the event was a keynote address by The Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron, President, Caribbean Court of Justice, who urged the new Champions to use their combined influence to make significant strides to reduce stigma and discrimination against HIV people living with HIV and to implement programmes and activities that seek to end the spread of HIV.

 

‘Your commitment to leveraging your individual and collective influence will play a key role in helping our Region, and the world, end this epidemic’ stated Sir Byron, ‘We can no longer sit back contently in our “rocking-chairs” of indecision and indecisiveness or intention and inertia and observe the undoing of all the advancements we have made. While we must celebrate those achievements, this is a time for A-C-T-I-O-N!’

 

In his examination of Judicial Attitudes and HIV and AIDS within the context of positioning the judiciary to effectively contribute to ending AIDS by 2030, Sir Byron contended that HIV affects every aspect of the human condition and, as such, it requires an informed, rational and just response if we are to be successful in ending the epidemic. ‘This premise is relevant to the judiciary in the discharge of its duties as guardian of the due administration of justice and protector of human rights’ contended Sir Byronwho also observed that law is an important structural determinant of health.

 

Sir Byron reasoned that judicial officers must exhibit and reinforce anti-discriminatory attitudes and practices that will supplement and underscore the efforts being made to end the epidemic. Judicial officers must manage what goes on in the courtroom, to ensure that persons who are susceptible to discriminatory treatment are treated fairly by all players in the judicial process including court staff, counsel, police officers, witnesses and such others.

 

Sir Byron proposed that it is incumbent for judicial officers to equip themselves with the requisite knowledge about HIV and AIDS, not merely knowledge of the law relating to HIV and AIDS, human rights, anti-discriminatory laws and the like, but also knowledge concerning the disease itself and issues which affect and promote the spread of the disease such as, for example, gender inequality.

 

‘Judicial officers must adopt a proactive stance to acquiring and updating this knowledge – we must obtain the relevant tools and materials’ stated Sir Byron.

 

Sir Byron shared his views on the role of the Caribbean Court of Justice. ‘As President of the CCJ, it is my view, that as an apex Court our reach should extend beyond the precincts of the Court and our adjudicatory functions. As a Caribbean institution, we must engage in activities which improve access to and the quality of justice for all and instill confidence in the fairness of the judicial system and the administration of justice’.

 

Sir Byron noted that in dealing with attitudes towards knowledge and capacity building, the propositions made in PANCAP’s Model Anti-Discrimination Bill for the establishment of a dedicated Anti-Discrimination Commission and Tribunal must be appreciated as they indicate a positive attitude towards capacity building. ‘The establishment of a dedicated grievance resolution system means that complaints will not be hampered by existing case backlogs within the current judicial systems across the region, which unfortunately still cause inordinate delay’, contended Sir Byron. 

 

Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Douglas Slater spoke on behalf ofAmbassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General, CARICOM.  He stated that the ‘PANCAP Champions for Change initiative presents a unique opportunity to transfer the best practices learnt through PANCAP interventions, to the public health sector in the Region’.  He described PANCAP as a best practice within the Region for coordinating and orchestrating effective interventions particularly among civil society organisations.  He also referred to PANCAP interventions and capacity building for National AIDS programme managers as significant steps in the response to the spread of HIV.    

 

Honourable Nicolette Henry, Minister of Education, Guyana in her remarks recommitted to using her influence to reduce stigma and discrimination within the health sector.  She urged that health care practitioners should be professional and warned that stigma and discrimination are aiding the continued spread of HIV.  ‘Treating people with dignity and respect should be at the forefront of the response to HIV,’ stated Minister Henry, ‘I am committed to speaking out against discrimination and will use my office to ensure people living with HIV receive the care and treatment they require’.

 

Ms Joan Didier, Board Member, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, in her remarks stated that civil society is ‘imploring policy makers, parliamentarians and all those with influence to ensure that people living with HIV are not discriminated against when they seek help from public health institutions’.  ‘A scornful look or an attitude of concern and care from a nurse or doctor, could mean the difference between life or death for someone with HIV,’ stated Ms Didier, ‘Champions, I urge you to use your platform to empower people living with HIV’.  

 

The ceremony concluded with Sir Byron issuing an inspired charge to the new PANCAP Champions.  ‘Efforts over the next few years will decide whether we will end AIDS by 2030 or face resurgence’, stated Sir Byron, ‘In over four decades of the epidemic, science, social mobilization, political commitment and coordinated response among key stakeholders have made it possible to end AIDS. History shall not be kind to us if we become complacent now’.

 

The 2017 Champions for Change include Guyana’s First Lady, Mrs Sandra Granger for her outstanding leadership and championing of the ‘Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child’ Initiative; the Executive Director of LIVE UP Dr. Allyson Leacock; Attorney-at-law Dr. Arif Bulkan; Canon of the Cathedral in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Canon Garth Minott, Member of Parliament (Guyana), Dr. Frank Anthony; the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Law and Economics (ILE), Jamaica, Dwayne Gutzmer; Founder and Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) in Guyana, Joel Simpson; Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) Kenita Placide; Speaker of the National Assembly of Belize and Chairperson of the National AIDS Commission, Laura Tucker-Longworth; Chair of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS), Lucien Govaard; Guyana’s professional squash player, Nicolette Fernandes; Minister in Charge of the Calvary Evangelical Church Barbados, Dr Nigel Taylor; Director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme at the Bahamas Ministry of Health, Dr Nikkiah Forbes; Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh; Deputy Programme Manager within the Communications Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat, Volderine Hackett; and Senior Pastor of The Poonah Open Bible Miracle Centre (POBMC), Trinidad and Tobago, Rev. Winston Mansingh.

Visioning Prayer 2017

Almighty and ever-living God, ruler of all things in heaven and on earth, and by whose grace we have been called into a goodly fellowship of faith: Send down upon our bishops, other clergy, and all your faithful people an outpouring of your Holy Spirit for the renewal and mission of your Church. Give us a vision of where you would lead your Church, and so discern new things that you are doing in your Church and the world. By your grace, save us from unnecessary distractions, so that we may be able to determine your will for us, go forward perceiving that which is right, and have the courage to pursue the same, to the end that we may utilise the gifts which you have given to each of us for the furtherance of your will in simplicity, confidence and steadfastness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Collect for Independence

O God our Father, whose will it is that your people should live in ordered societies; inspire the people of this nation with the spirit of justice, truth and love; and so guide our leaders, and all who make decisions on our behalf, that they may direct our affairs in righteousness and peace; that we may live in peace and harmony and to your honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
Amen.

Report: News of parenting facilitator group

This is to inform you that the final session with the facilitator trainees was held on Thursday, June 29.  The first, 9th and 10th sessions were at the Church of St. Margaret’s Hall; the intervening seven were held at Church of the Ascension.  Each was scheduled for 4 hours.  Persons could not all arrive by 3:00 pm (though some faithfully did), so we were usually in full swing by 3:30/3:45, and the sessions concluded by 7:00 or soon after.   The sessions were led by two professionals, Linda Craige Brown and Colleen Wint Bond, both founding members of Parenting Partners Caribbean (PPC) – a consortium of professionals working in the field of parenting from 1991, developing Caribbean materials, conducting training and research, etc.  I provided the logistics support (recruitment, notifications, communications between sessions, refreshments for each session, and (because I am also a founding PPC member) sometimes participated in the discussions.
The aims were primarily two:  (1)  to have all participants experience what being part of a participatory parenting session should be like, via guided activities and personal sharing of experiences; and (2) drawing from the experience and observations of the guiding team the implications for leading such a group within a community setting.   These objectives by all accounts of the participants were achieved.  The levels of skill and confidence that resulted from the training varied with the previous experience, education and exposure of each person.  But as teams, they should be quite capable of beginning the task of offering parenting supports within their selected communities.
Although we began with 20 persons interested, the difficulty of getting dates and times for sessions that were convenient for all was impossible.  Most wanted to finish before summer school holidays, so we finally opted for Tuesday  and Thursday afternoons, starting March 25 and ending June 29.  Ultimately, we ended up with a core group of ten who completed the required last two days of practicum exercises and who committed to working in teams for the future.  Of these ten, three started late, attending 4, 5, and 6 sessions; seven others attended 10 sessions (2) 9 sessions (3) 8 (1) and 7 (1); another came three times before getting a job that precluded her participation.  Unfortunately only one participant was male; the rest female.  We had one session specifically aimed at the importance of engaging fathers in sessions, as the inputs of both parents with their children are essential, wherever possible, for optimum child development and well-being.  
The trainees left the final session equipped with a DVD version of the PPC manual, which provides facilitator guidance and materials for 32 sessions on common parenting issues; they also had quite a few handouts from the course itself, from the experiential sessions they had on topics such as child development, building self-esteem, parent-child communication, behaviour management, the importance of fathers.  They all had positive things to say throughout about how much they were learning – not only about facilitation, but about themselves as parents, as partners, and colleagues.  The feedback from the group was very gratifying, and they expressed at the end that they felt like a “real family” that needed to keep meeting and supporting each other.
The facilitators have agreed to meet with the group in six weeks; in the meantime the participants in groups of two and three, will recruit up to 15 persons to attend a first workshop which they will deliver.  The facilitators will attend these if possible to support their efforts.  The meeting in six weeks will assess their confidence in proceeding with further parenting workshops/courses.
The funds for this exercise (and the whole USPG grant) is now expended.   If we are to build on and strengthen this initiative, we will realistically need further funds – to support the continuing participation of the professionals, to aid the trainee teams with at least minimal supports for such basic resources as learning aids, refreshments, etc.  For the first workshop, we have left them on their own to solicit help from their own congregations/community groups for these purposes.  But that is unlikely to be sufficient impetus for these fledgling teams to continue into the future with significant ongoing work.  
Regards,
Janet

 

Archived Bulletins and Orders of Service

meeting

This is a collection of all of the bulletin and Order of Service sheets that have been posted here on this website for the UWI Mona Anglican Community in Kingston, Jamaica.  Most of the services take place on Sundays at 07:00AM and all are welcomed to come along and worship with us.
The Order of Service provides a listing of the chronological parts of the service for that day and it includes the readings, Psalms and song selections for that day. At the back of the document (which ends up showing to the left of the first page in the PDF document) there is also a Bulletin with little notes from the clergy and the congregation which can take the form of prayers, paragraphs of insight; and upcoming spiritual and social events (which are also reflected on the website’s calendar system). These are all after thoughts that any member or non-member can peruse during the week and may help in their spiritual preparations for future events. A thought-provoking imagery graces the front of the document (to the top-right of the PDF document) and represents something about the special day of prayer and worship. It can be the catalyst for some worshipers to come nearer to God; and for others it can be the fuel that helps to keep the fire burning brightly as a beacon and lighthouse to others around them.