By Christopher Tobutt
Coe Wood Beach, The very heart of Bodden Town came alive with praise and thanksgiving to God last Saturday night, as the Bodden Town East Committee put on “GR8FUL Celebrating God’s Mercies.” It was a great family night of community thanksgiving. Local food (delicious fish and fritters!) and drink was on sale too as dignitaries such as Hon Speaker McKeeva Bush, and Hon Julianna O’Connor Connolly took their seats, while Hon Dwayne Seymour who had helped organize the evening, stood by.
It was bound to be a great evening, with local stars such as the Williams Quartet, with their beautiful four-part gospel harmonies, Cebert Bromwell, Roderick Brown and Antoinette Cowen scheduled to perform. The Unity Band were there too, backing some of the artists with their rich blend of gospel music. But it wasn’t only gospel music, and Impulz putting out their up-tempo Reggae and Soca vibes to really set the night on fire.
It was a great, friendly community atmosphere - just what was needed to get people shaking off some Covid-19 lockdown cobwebs. Lots of Bodden-towners were there, of course, but some had come further afield, and Graham Rankine had come all the way from East End, “I think this is a wonderful idea for the community ….this is the first time since the pandemic that I have seen so many Caymanians in one spot. And what I like when there are so many.
Cayman truly has much to be thankful for, as we have been kept relatively safe and Covid-free. Minister of Health Dwayne Seymour expressed it very well by saying, “It’s definitely important that we thank God and show our gratefulness for the mercies that he has bestowed on us thus far, during the covid-19.” He explained that it was meant to help people celebrate, and think positively. George Town MLA Kenneth Bryan was there too, “This is a positive thing for people in difficult times,” he said.
Surely one of the most beautiful voices of the evening belonged to gospel singer Darnelle Cilestene, who sang beautifully and soulfully, pouring out her heart in thanks and praise to the Lord. “When I sing, knowing the mountains that my God has brought me over, and knowing the trials that my God has seen me through, this is my favorite song. The song is about Mary and her sacrifice to God in that she spent all that she had on this precious ointment. When others were looking at her and saying that her gift was a waste, God said, ‘leave her alone. She is anointing me for my burial, and wherever the gospel is preached you will hear about Mary,” she said, before launching into a wonderful acapella version of the gospel classic, ‘Alabaster Box.’
“The room grew still, as she made her way to Jesus, she stumbles through the tears that made her blind. She felt such pain, some spoke in anger… Until at last, she knelt before his feet, and though she spoke no words, everything she said was heard, as she poured her love for the master, from her box of alabaster,” she sang. Suddenly everyone remembered that they, too had much to give thanks for.