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Stepping Stones
Edition 7
Stepping Stones
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Stepping Stones
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Stepping Stones
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Stepping Stones
Edition 17

Last weekend was my Mummy’s birthday. She is the woman who placed her life and her happiness on hold while she raised us. She gave of herself completely and did everything she could to ensure that we each experienced a better life than the one she had. Her birthday this year added a new dimension to my life. To mark her achievement and to show our appreciation to her for all her love, care and prayer, her daughters worshiped with her at her church in Five Cays. We were celebrating the spiritual connection that exists between mothers and daughters. This story would continue in Stepping Stones Mother’s Day edition next week.

I am anxious to share with you what I observed at my Mother’s church- Paradise Baptist, and how progressive and productive they are, not only in the enhancement of the place of worship but more so in the rich feelings of God’s presence and the deliverance of the word of God from the Holy Bible.
The worship experience was beautiful, and we each agreed with my sister Macleen, when she said she truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was beautiful and pure, yet it is hard to really describe except to say that it was a great atmosphere and God’s presence was definitely there.

This week’s Stepping Stones will focus on the sermon and message that I heard last week at Paradise Baptist, because it is always amazing and refreshing to hear the Word of God preached in an informative biblical and spiritual way. That message has stayed with me every day since Sunday.
The theme of the Rev. Dr Samuel Williams message was: “The Danger of Ceasing Divine Design” and his three sub-topics were (a) it is dangerous for public worship to cease (b) it is disastrous for joyous festivals to cease and (c) it is disastrous for religious intercourse to cease.

Now why is this message being written about in Stepping Stones? It is because only a few months ago there were rumors of Religious Education ceasing in our schools. This notion was mentioned in the White Paper. While I must admit that a few young people tried to get our attention and attempted to address this issue, it appears to me that very few if any church leaders addressed it at all.

Rev. Williams’ sermon was the closest public discussion on the issue I have heard. And though he did not at any time allude to the Paper (which is very good), he prepared his people, his church for the danger present if schools ceased teaching Religious Education. If this new law to pass, we would be essentially ceasing religious discourse at the most poignant level possible- in the schools; the institution where we shape the minds of our young people- the future of the Turks and Caicos.

As a spiritual practitioner, the Reverend correctly used the word of God as it ought to be, in time and on time. He adequately addressed the danger for a people and a country and of course, students, if religious education was to cease. We can use this message to articulate and to draw reference to the proposal of the White Paper and use it to challenge our spiritual awakening.

His message inspired me to examine my own effort and to vigilantly read, share and to explore what we will face in the Turks and Caicos Islands if and when these policies are implemented.

We refer to our Turks and Caicos Islands as a Christian country, but this White Paper has been around for a few weeks now, and there has been no serious public debate or examination of its contents. The cessation of teaching Religious Education in schools are among many issues that we as a people have ignored, while even at this very moment, the Governor and his compatriots in the UK are discussing it in a meeting.

And I quote directly from the White Paper:
“Question has been raised as to the appropriate content of the curriculum under the Education Ordinance. For example with respect to section 11 (g) part 111 B, a policy decision should be made as to whether physical education should be spelt out as a requirement. This is policy decision which can be effected easily into law. Similarly, under section 17 (1) of the Ordinance, Bible Knowledge is specifically mentioned which raises the important question as to whether students should be compelled to receive religious education?

… human rights issues such as discrimination (indirect or direct) on the grounds of religion. Collateral issues would be whether a student has the right to demand religious instruction in the religion of his or her choice, or whether a student, or even a teacher / instructor has the right to wear religious attire. Such questions have occupied the courts of other jurisdictions, including those in the Commonwealth Caribbean and should be resolved by the Legislature.”

Now that I have extracted the section for you my readers, let us take some time to seek real clarification just in case we need to address this issue that I believe God will hold us accountable for.
The mere fact that the British Government is dabbling in the choices and rights of religion at the school level will cause much confusion for our children at a time when the debate still continues worldwide. Remember that children learn what they live and are a product of their environment. If they are taught about Jesus publicly and are given religious instruction, the chances are greater that they will love God and serve Him as we are instructed to do from the Word of God. While, if they are not afforded the opportunity at school, the parents and Churches have an awesome responsibility to be more committed to this task.

Let me remind you that our children spend most of their productive hours at school and I am hoping that the religious instruction that they receive now is allowed to continue as is. It will be equally dangerous to have all sorts of religious practices introduced. In my opinion, the Word of God through the Bible is enough for our schools.

The authors of the White Paper expect the countries involved to be upset and even reject their suggestions/concerns, so they suggest that such questions have occupied the courts of other jurisdictions, including those in the commonwealth Caribbean.

I pray that we take some time out and find out where they are headed with these issues.