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Voice of an angel filled me with hope for our youth

Way makers: Isiah Cameron and Khazi Sealy at St Paul AME (Photograph supplied)

“Way Maker, miracle worker, promise keeper

Light in the darkness, my God

That is who you are”

— Sinach

Way Maker is a gospel hit that has been resonating in my head the past few weeks. So much so that I have found myself watching countless versions of this song on YouTube.

Perhaps, coincidently, this song was originally written and performed by a lady by the name of Osinach Joseph, from Nigeria. That would be the very same Nigeria, the most populous African nation, located in West Africa, a region where many of us who are descendants of enslaved Africans can trace most of our DNA.

Without a doubt, I know it was the spirit of our African ancestors that was speaking through this song when I first heard it performed live at the St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Men’s Day Service last Sunday.

It was a service that had many in the audience near tears for various reasons:

• Awards for community service to Harold Minors and Cup Match legend Charlie Marshall

• Mime performance by Seth Taylor

• Musical band led by Raymond George

• Preaching of John F. Green, Dean of Turner Theological Seminary

For me, what initially moved my spirit was the solo performance of a young man by the name of Kahzi Sealey.

When he took to the stage and began the opening lines of Way Maker, it was as if the heavens had opened and an angel had descended upon us. To say the congregation was spellbound would be an understatement. The pitch of his voice intertwined with the depth of the words, matched with the perfection of the music, was something beyond earthly.

What grabbed me even more was that for this particular service, the young men of St Paul, led by Leroy Smith and Tarik Bean-Darrell, had control of the programme from start to finish.

In a time in which the narrative is that our young men — in particular, our young black men — are characterised negatively as lazy, unproductive and lacking in purpose, this event laid those descriptives to waste.

As someone who grew up in St Paul but, admittedly, is not a regular attendee, I was moved to tears to see the young people bringing innovative ways to bring the gospel to the masses, whether it be via video, music, mime or scripture.

What was equally heart-warming was multiple visuals used to depict a strong sense of pride in our African heritage. As people of African descent, we have been indoctrinated for decades that anything to do with our motherland is of no value.

Africa has been portrayed as a continent full of war, disease and poverty — when in reality, the birthplace of mankind is the most culturally diverse and mineral-rich continent on earth. So to see this being reinforced in a church service brought an inherent sense of pride to many in the audience.

In the audience, among the congregation, sat the Reverend Nicholas Tweed, who has helped to oversee this evolution at St Paul, allowing it to grow, not just in congregation size, but in community service, incorporating and promoting many of our young men whom society has often mischaracterised.

In the words of the reverends Howard Dill and his wife, Emilygail Dill, “as we journey through life, let us resolve to partner with the people God places in our path”.

This should come as no surprise, as the more than 200 years of the AME movement has been about traversing the globe to develop countless generations of “Way Makers”.

To my AME family, I may not be at every service, but this service was a timely reminder that St Paul and indeed every AME is my home. Please enjoy your conference weekend.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm