Angel Michael Healing Tabernacle drummers keep the rhythm going during Spirtual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day celebrations, Ark of the Covenant Empowerment Hall, Maloney on Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE
Spiritual Shouter Baptist Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke says she will continue to fight for the rights of members of this religion until the day she dies, but she is also urging the younger generations within the faith to learn their history so they can do the same when she is no longer here.
She was speaking at Empowerment Hall, Maloney, on Thursday as members of the faith celebrated Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day.
The hall was filled with the sounds of singing, worshipping, drumming, bells, doption and conch shells as they all danced.
There were visitors from the US, Grenada, Barbados and Guyana, as well as across several parishes in TT.
Gray-Burke, 85, said Spiritual Shouter Baptists have a history that “no other religion in this country or anywhere went through.
“There was not a voice that was willing to hear of the brutality of my people…For holding a candle, they want to put you in prison, to hold flowers in your hand – imprisonment, to put a moaner on the ground – imprisonment…”
She said it was the British constabulary force which gave Spiritual Baptists the nickname Shouter Baptists, which she will “never let go of.
“(They would say) Dem shouter only grunting like pigs…our divine worship…
“I admire them shouting today!” she said.
Recalling when members of her faith were not allowed to publicly assemble, she reminded the congregation that it is now a privilege they are able to do so now.
She called on the youth to “know the history of their forefathers,” adding that, “Whether I live, whether I die, allyuh must never lose this day, March 30.”
She recalled the decades of pleading and begging which had to occur for them to get a national holiday, and praised former Prime Minister and UNC political leader Basdeo Panday, under whose tenure the holiday was given in 1996.
She renewed her call for Spiritual Shouter Baptists to get a secondary school, as they already have a primary school – St Barbara’s Spiritual Shouter Baptist Primary School.
“Hell or high water, I’m going for a secondary school.”
She said their children need to be indoctrinated.
“Only by the might and the power of God, we could have good children.”
She added, “I’m going to fight until God take this breath from me, because if I didn’t fight, we wasn’t able to get this thing.”
St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen joined Burke on stage to worship.
After, Ameen assured the congregation “have a friend in (her) and have a friend in the UNC,” as they continue to advocate for equality for every creed and race.
“I salute you for your struggle. I salute you for never giving up…
“When we stand for something that we believe in, we have to be prepared to be vilified, prepared for people to say the worst about us. But we must stand for what we believe in.”
She thanked all elders who stood up for their faith and urged parents to ensure their children are “rooted, grounded in faith in God.
“…Because the evil that comes from throughout to attack our children does not know Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Baptist…They will come for our children and we must stand and guard them. We must have them firmly rooted so they will be safe and protected.”