By Aubrey Campbell
Fort Lauderdale, FL. Wednesday, May 18, 2016 — With sections of the Jamaican clergy overseas calling for greater changes in the socio-political and economic fabric of Jamaica, resulting in the eradication of corruption, a stubborn murder rate and other social maladies, Jamaicans in the Diaspora will take to churches, prayer centers and other places of worship to pray for the nation, on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, in the United States and Canada and Monday, August 8, in the United Kingdom.
These are the dates/days designated by the Jamaica Diaspora Day of Prayer and Fasting (JDOP), for the 12th annual celebration/observation, when Jamaicans overseas, will take time out from their very busy schedule, to stand in prayer for the nation.
JDOP Steering Committee chair, Rev. Andrew R. Bennett, Sr., from Patterson, New Jersey, told committee members at its April planning meeting that the push is on for an additional fifty (50) churches and places of worship, worldwide, to join the growing prayer movement, first started in 2004.
Already, scores of churches and places of worship in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom, participate in the annual prayer vigil for the island nation’s spiritual renewal and transformation.
Over the years, the prayer agenda has focused on areas of concern including; economic prosperity with equitable distribution of available resources for the benefit of the nation; safe and secure communities from crime and corruption; growth and renewal of the church community without spiritual and ethical compromise and the Diaspora contribution to national development.
Initially an outgrowth of the Intercessory Prayer Ministry International (IPMI), based in Brooklyn, New York City, the Diaspora Day of Prayer and Fasting was observed on August 1 (Emancipation Day). However, given certain challenges of the calendar day, jurisdictions have been given some flexibility with scheduling.
“August 1, is the official day but we have had to work with prayers centers based on what’s best for them, as the aim is to involve as many Jamaicans as possible,” offered Rev. Newton Gabbidon, head of IPMI and program director of the DOP Steering Committee.
A number of churches in the Greater Toronto Metro area, Northeast USA and Birmingham, England, are expected to be added to the network in time for this year’s observation, according to committee chairman, Rev. Bennett, Sr.
The JDOP, through the various missions overseas and in concert with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, supports two charities in Jamaica with donations from offerings collected at the annual prayer vigil, worldwide.
The charities are the Coalition in Support of Adolescent Leadership Training (C-SALT), in St. Ann, Jamaica, and the Pregnancy Resource Center of Jamaica (PRCJ), St. James, Jamaica.
Clergy and/or churches wishing to join the movement and participate in the day of prayer, can contact, IPMI at t. 718-241-2162, or online at; www.ipmi.org
The prayer movement has received the endorsement of the Governor General, Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, over the years.