Government hosts annual Thanksgiving ceremony

PHILIPSBURG–The Government of St. Maarten in collaboration with St. Maarten United Ministerial Foundation (SMUMF) and Christian Council (CC) hosted the annual Thanksgiving service and Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Sunday celebrating the end of the 2017 hurricane season.

Governor Eugene Holiday, Chairwoman of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams, Prime Minister Rafael Boasman, First Vice President of the Collectivité Valerie Damaseau, and several other Members of Parliament and High Councils of State were among the dignitaries present at the ceremony.
Under the theme “Attitude of Gratitude” the praise and worship team of the Christian Fellowship Church started the service with songs of praise and thanks to God, followed by the St. Martin Song sung by Pastor Benjamin Bell and an opening prayer by Pastor Orlando Wilson.
The service continued with hymns of thanks, words of welcome from SMUMF representative Wally Havertong and remarks of resilience and gratitude from Prime Minister Boasman, who asked the congregation to give thanks at all times, not only in good times.
“Even though we have been through the devastation of the hurricanes, we will, with an attitude of gratitude, continue to give thanks for His grace and mercy and allowing us to be here with health and strength to work together to rebuild our beautiful Soualiga,” he said.
Renditions, scripture readings and prayers were contributed by representatives of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, SMUMF and CC. Pastor Lewis Constant gave a sermon reminding the congregation that no one is higher than the Lord, He alone is God and He sees and knows all.
Calls were made during the sermon and prayers to put God first, unity, forgiveness, love, peace and healing. All in all, the service was uplifting and brought participants a sense of peace and togetherness.
This sense of peace and hope was further realised with the commencement of carolling by the praise and worship team, and the lighting of the two Christmas trees by Prime Minister Boasman and Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs.
The service came to a close with the vote of thanks by Jacobs, who thanked the organisers and participants of the service and ceremony. She commended the community workers, churches and organisations that played a key role in helping the people of St. Maarten directly after the passage of Hurricane Irma and handed out certificates to the various representatives present.
She also shared the spirit of Christmas with those in need and urged everyone to continue to look out for neighbours and others still displaced or suffering at this time.
The service ended with the benediction by Rev. Dr. Joan Delsol-Meade, after which the Christmas carol medley allowed the congregation to mingle, meet and greet before leaving for their homes feeling blessed and refreshed.

Source: The Daily Herald