The theme of making history set the precedence for the start of Reggae Month 2022. Widely perceived as the voice of the oppressed, Reggae music originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The genre made history while becoming one of the world’s most popular musical genres.
The ambience at Go for God church, located on 77 Shortwood road (Teacher’s College), was all Reggae. No foreign God can take your place, echoed the congregation and the Go for God praise team. Politicians, members of the Reggae industry, diplomats, and congregation members attended the service. Their attendance showed their love to worship and appreciation for Reggae Music.
First Scripture Reading – Ezekiel 47: verses 1-6
Mr Ewan Simpson, Chairman of JARIA, read the first scripture from Ezekiel 47, verses 1-6. The message of God has brought me through the river resonated. With all things considered, God continues to carry us through the river.
Recording artist Alicia Taylor graced the stage with her melodic voice, expressing her love for God. Those in attendance sang along word for word, not missing a beat.
Reggae Is More Than Just Music
Mrs Carolyn Riley, Director of TLN (Tourism Linkages Network), represented the unavoidably absent Honourable Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism. Mrs Riley touched on reigniting a nation for greatness. “The Ministry of Tourism gives their full support to Reggae Month”, she stated. Mrs Riley also expressed the Tourism industry’s pledge to foster the continued development of the entertainment industry. For this reason, she went on to galvanise the full integration of Reggae Music into Jamaica’s Tourism product. Collaborative efforts between the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, take precedence when looking to a brighter tomorrow for Jamaica. The partnership is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic because we are watching the impact on the industry.
Prayer for Reggae Month and the Nation
Bishop Peter Morgan graced the stage to pray for Jamaica. “Honorable Minister Olivia Grange, you are more than just a Minister, you are a tradition, and you have been around for quite some time”, Bishop Morgan said, providing a lighthearted moment. “I have to tell the people that because when I look at you, it doesn’t look that way”, he continued, showing his appreciation for the Ministers’ length of service Jamaica. Bishop Morgan expressed the importance of God in all that we do and the functionality of Jamaican music and culture.
Launch of Reggae Month 2022
The Honorable Olivia Grange, CD, MP; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport started her speech with, “God is good”, and the congregation responded, “All the time”. The Minister said, “So let us give him a shoutout”.
The Minister’s presence exuded strength and longevity. She began by acknowledging attending dignitaries, including Honorable Minister Alando Terralong, State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport. Minister Grange also recognised Mrs Carollyn Riley, Doctor Maureen Tamuno, Nigerian High Commissioner, Dr Saadia Sanchez, Director and Representative of the UNESCO cluster office, Yuri Peshkov, Cultural specialist at UNESCO, Mr Denzel Thorpe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Bishop Peter Morgan along with his son and daughter-in-law Pastors Chris and Marsha Morgan, Mr Frankie Campbell, Chairman of JAVAA and Mr Ewan Simpson, chairman of JARIA.
While thanking the Pastors and congregation at Go for God family church, Minister Grange stated, “One of the most desirable places to be in troublesome times is in the house of the Lord”. She touched on the current state of the world and the countless lives lost to COVID-19. Correspondingly, she made mention of the many Jamaican creatives that lost their lives within the past year and the impact it has left on Jamaica.
We must help each other
In her address, Minister Grange excitingly announced, “Today we at the Ministry give thanks that we were able to provide some support to a little under 2000 persons in grants“. Individuals within the creative industry received $60,000 to balance the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Grange mentioned God’s gift of Reggae music to Jamaica and how it has been a centrepiece to income generation for the poor and their communities while adding value to the nation.
Patrons celebrated hearing that UNESCO declared Kingston a music city. UNESCO recognises Reggae music as being the most potent genre of music. “So we have the world’s fastest woman alive in track and field, the world’s fastest man in track and field, and the most potent music on planet earth,” Minister Grange said to cheers. In closing, Minister Grange quoted Reggae Legend Bob Marley, saying, “The world will recall, that it was Bob Marley, the king of Reggae, who made the connection in his signalled anthem Redemption Song between the creation of reggae music and the hand of God. In his immortal words, “Our hands were made strong by the power of the almighty, and so we forward in this generation, triumphantly.”
Secod Scripture Reading – Ezekiel 47: verse 6-12
Mr Frankie Campbell, Chairman of JAVAA, read the second scripture. The scripture clearly shows the importance of God in everything. It shows that where the river lies, everything will live. “There fruits will serve for food and their leaves for healing”. This fact cements that God provides us with the ingredients we need to survive. He makes room for us to become the best versions of ourselves. It is for us to be proactive in getting it done.
Guest Artist John Mark Wiggan took the stage next to breathe joy with his soulful voice. Along with the background singers, he danced up a storm while singing praises to God, fueling the energy in the church.
Ministry of Word
Minister Chris Morgan took the stage to deliver the word for the day. “Isiah 43 verse 18 says, forget the former things, do not dwell on the past,” he said. As he spoke, we ingested every word said. Minister Morgan talked about a shift that is coming. A revival is coming, he said emphatically. We must play our part, have faith in God, and brace for all God has in store for us. “God is invested, and he is investing in you”, Minister Morgan stated, spreading a word of hope. He emphasised the importance of believing in God’s grace and mercy. God is saying elevation is coming, so be ready for it.
The church service signalling the start of Reggae month 2022 was filled with words of hope for the future. Hope for revival and a spiritual shift in Jamaica will enhance Jamaica’s growth and impact on the world.