While some race to criticise foreigners in Cayman, the pastor and congregation of a local church want everyone to know that the race that really matters is the human race.
Pastor Alson Ebanks and the congregation of the Church of God Chapel on Walkers Road feel so strongly that people should not be promoting discord between Caymanians and non-Caymanians that they decided to do something about it.
And nearly 200 of them not only signed ‘an affirmation of human dignity and call for unity’ but then took out a full page advertisement to publish it in the Caymanian Compass.
‘We affirm the dignity, worth and value of all people residing in these Cayman Islands, and call on all persons to join us in that affirmation and thereby create a society and nation where harmony, peace and mutual respect form the foundation for political, material, social and spiritual prosperity,’ reads part of the statement.
The statement was signed by congregation members from Cayman and countries including Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua, the USA, Canada and South Africa.
Pastor Ebanks said he had the idea while he was preparing his message for the congregation.
He felt troubled about the xenophobia he was sensing in the community and when he took the idea to the congregation it was greeted by applause.
‘I feel and have felt for a long time that one of the functions of the church is to aid the assimilation of peoples,’ said Pastor Ebanks.
‘Unfortunately, what I have seen over the last 20 years is that a lot of ethnic churches are springing up and I personally think it is a bad thing for society.
‘I think a church should be a microcosm of heaven, which has all peoples,’ said Pastor Ebanks.
‘We don’t need any agitation towards disunity. If anyone needs to agitate it should be for unity,’ he said.
Pastor Ebanks stressed that the message, so enthusiastically endorsed by the congregation, is a non-political one that came purely from the heart and which he hopes can ‘stimulate people to think more equitably and healthily.’