Candlelight Vigil Inspires “Spark Of Forgiveness”

January 1, 2020

A New Year’s Eve ceremony in North Hamilton was heralded as a success by its participants and well wishers, the organisers said today.

A spokesperson said, “An important New Year’s Eve ceremony at the crossroads of the City and North Hamilton – organized by Councilor RoseAnn Edwards of the Corporation of Hamilton and Emir Saleem Talbot of the Bermuda Islamic Cultural Center – together with support from Fresh TV and the Emperial Group of Companies – was heralded as a success by its participants and well wishers.

“The meeting started early in the evening with the Fresh TV Second Annual Drum Circle on Facebook Live – featuring streamed performances, well wishers and commentary from online contributors in the Caribbean, Spain, Canada and the United States. The highlight of the show was the appearance of Bermuda’s very own Onika Best, Queen of the Drum, from the Love Hut in Barbados together with her climate change awareness Just Stop campaign song, “I am Mahdah Urf”.

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“Fresh TV has created a universally appealing approach to New Year’s Eve based on the principles of Kwanzaa that shows how the emerging consciousness of North Hamilton can reach a global audience.

“The Fresh TV format is ideally positioned to highlight the complexities of interracial dialog as well as to critically analyse the secular implications of atonement. Emir Saleem Talbot was able to appear on the show and reflect on his own business Sahaba Crossroads, which started on Court Street more than thirty years ago. He also shared his own islamic perspective on the inherent value of using prayer, repentance and good deeds to achieve unity and forgiveness.

“Meanwhile, the midnight vigil for peace together with the on-site X-Roads soup kitchen was able to uncover a new role for the recently established public garden next to Emmanuel Baptist Church on Dundonald Street – as an ideal location for open hearted discussions about forgiveness, spirituality, identity and inclusion. The public gathering is designed to motivate the surrounding community to be increasingly vigilant about the stigma of violence and underdevelopment both locally and around the world.

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“Emir Saleem Talbot and Deacon Charles Daniels of Emmanuel Baptist Church were even able to expedite the interfaith repurposing of the venue as a newly dubbed “Crossroads Park” that can be a continuing source of faith based dialogue. Glenn Fubler shared his broad experience with peacemaking and activism in North Hamilton to highlight the historical personalities, buildings and institutions that emerged from Court Street. He equally endorsed the value that can be realised from a focus on small groups that are determined to realise positive effects.

“Most significantly, the intimate “gathering of lights” by the delegation of nearly two dozen supporters has enabled Councilor RoseAnn Edwards herself to put her own legacy of trauma – and forgiveness – in public perspective. She is the survivor of a life-threatening attack in January 2016 that was partly motivated by the successful aftermath of the inaugural 2015 New Year’s Eve block party on Court Street. She only managed to survive by forgiving her attacker on the spot, thus prompting him to allow her to call 911.

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“While expressing thanks for the continued gift of life, her journey of physical, emotional and psychological pain resulting from the attack has nevertheless continued. More broadly, her story also resonates with many in Bermuda who are struggling with the possibilities of unconditional forgiveness. The New Year’s Eve peace vigil is the living memorial that she feels can help many people like herself in public life to work in harmony with the public no matter what the risks.

“Of course, the participants could not help but celebrate the obvious cliché that “it only takes a spark to get a fire going” as they contemplated their future plans for the ceremony. This newly minted approach to New Year’s Eve serves as an important milestone in the emerging potential of North Hamilton as a cultural crossroads of both the city and the global community.

“The organizers extend their heartfelt gratitude to the City of Hamilton for highlighting the spontaneous vigil at their New Year’s Eve Celebration, Rev Dr Georgette Prime-Godwin for use of the facilities at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Additional thanks are owed to Gorham’s Ltd, The Supermart and Sahaba Crossroads for their promotional consideration.“

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