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Spiritual Shouter Baptists at the Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in New York
The ringing of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist bell swung by Mother Brenda Agulia reverberated throughout the halls of the Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in New York as a full Baptist service took place in the main hall where an altar with scent, calabash, mango leaves, water, lotar and tharia and a cocoyea broom were displayed. Bishop Allan Baxter said the invocation, Shinelle Hewitt sang the hymn “How Great Thou Art” as worshippers in full regalia, and head-coverings, offered prayers, drummed, danced and sang to mark the 1951 repeal of the 1917 ordinance which had prohibited practice of their religion. Consul General Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam praised the Spiritual Shouter Baptists for the “sacrifice these nationals made to keep their religion alive in face of all the adversities.”
King Shepherd Carlton Callender, in an electrifying address calledTrinidad and Tobago“the place where the energy resides” and suggested that the Spiritual Shouter Baptist holiday be promoted as a drawing point for festival tourism. He stated that the members of the Baptist community in theUnited Stateswere interested in the events which formed the history of the Spiritual Shouter Baptists and “shouting and moaning” was not the same when done in the US as in the homeland. Tumultuous applause accompanied his commendation of the UNC government (now a major partner in the current People’s Partnership Government) for restoring the dignity of the Spiritual Shouter Baptists, the opening of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist elementary school; and Consul General Ramgoolam for uplifting the religion in the United States by hosting the event.
The service was conducted by Minister Nigel Stewart, who demonstrated elaborate footwork to the delight of the audience, and Bishop Andy Edwards who offered prayers for blessings of the nation and its people. Consul of Immigration, Matthew Murray (Chairman of the proceedings) thanked sponsors Trinbago Express Shipping Services as guests enjoyed cassava dumplings, kingfish and callaloo by Bishop Donna Faria. The Consul General concluded the evening with wishes for a joyous celebration on behalf of the Government, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.