“I feel like I am in Hollywood on the red carpet,” Bishop Ishmael Charles of the New Testament Church of God International Worship Centre announced as he received an award in honour of the educational contribution his church has made and continues to make in the community.
Bishop Charles was one of six church leaders who were honoured on behalf of their churches at the inaugural St George’s Primary School “Christian Excellence Awards Ceremony” that was held at The Moorings Mariner Inn on 22 April.
The event was held under the theme ‘Faith + Education = Excellence’ and was organized by the St George’s Primary School Class Five Fundraising Committee, which is chaired by Karia Christopher.
The churches honoured were: the BVI Methodist Church Circuit represented by Reverend Charles Seaton; Agape Total Life Center represented by Dr. Lucia Woods; New Testament Church of God International Worship Centre, represented by Bishop Ishmael Charles; BVI Seventh Day Adventist Church, represented by Pastor Halford Brown; New Life Baptist Church, represented by Bishop John Cline, and the St George’s Episcopal Anglican Church represented by Father Ronald Branche.
Premier, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith stated that historically churches were the primary institutions that played a role in educating people in the Territory, and he said that he is pleased that churches are continuing to make considerable contributions to education. The BVI Leader added that the integration of faith and education is a great formula for excellence.
Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn noted that the Territory’s first education institutions came about as a result of efforts by the Anglican and Methodist churches. This long and valued tradition continues today with the involvement of several churches in education process from early childhood secondary.
Feature Guest Speaker, D. Estrelda Alexander told the gathering that the event was timely and that the cause was worthy of celebration: “We are celebrating the excellence of those who had the vision and foresight to establish Christian education in the Virgin Islands, that was a major excellent move. We are celebrating the churches and the communities that continue to support Christian education. We are celebrating the parents who invested in their children’s education, and we celebrate the children themselves because they have to do their part to get to the point we all want them to be.”
Dr. Alexander who is the President of William Seymour College in Washington DC told the gathering: “We need to educate our children to understand what is a lasting contribution and what is a flash in the pan. These schools have stood the test of time, because of the excellence, skills and motivation that is in this room — someone, some family, some congregation, some community is better because you were there, and because of that you are going to see and it doesn’t matter what the short term is, all that matters is what the long term is.”