|Prime Minister Freundel Stuart holds little Kayem Branche while meeting and greeting patrons of the annual extravaganza of the Speightstown/James Street Circuit at Ilaro Court.??(A. Miller/BGIS)|
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has lauded the Methodist Church for what he described as the impact it has made "to the treasury of human civilisation by the richness of its inputs into the development of humanity".
Mr. Stuart expressed this view over the weekend while speaking at the annual extravaganza of the Speightstown/James Street Circuit at Ilaro Court.??
Stating that the extravaganza was being held to better position the Church to reach out into the community and to contribute to charitable purposes, he added: "It was clear to me that you were acting consistently with the distinguished history of Methodism and that is why in Barbados, and other parts of the Caribbean, and dare I say…across the Western World, Methodism is held in such high esteem and repute."
Mr. Stuart recalled that Methodism dated back to the first half of the 18th century when Christian warriors John and Charles Wesley, while still students at Oxford University, started the Holy Club and they became known as Methodists. He noted that their schedule committed them to works of piety, namely prayer and bible reading; and works of service, which included visiting prisoners, and reaching out to the marginalised, the under privileged and the voiceless.
Methodism started in Barbados in 1788 during the days of slavery and the Prime Minister said that religion’s Ministers made it very clear that they were not going to condone that practice. "So, Methodism has nothing to be ashamed about. It has everything to be proud about because it has always been on the right side of history," he contended.
Prime Minister Stuart stated that its very origins were intended to be a protest against what was called the "sterile formalism" of the Church of England, which it was thought, at that time, had been losing contact with the real issues facing the voiceless, the marginalised and the poor in British society of the early 18 century.