The Senior Society Steward of the St John Maroon Church, Berber Richards has assured worshippers of a “soul refreshing service” come this Sunday in continuation of their bi-centenary festivities.
The Church which was founded in 1808 by freed slaves from Jamaica and Nova Scotia will on Sunday host a “dynamic minority choir of Maroon festival,” disclosed Mr Richards.
The service is intended to be celebrated in a “warm spirited style,” in the Maroons Negro spiritual way, the Senior Society Steward revealed.
Even though the church structure is monumental, Mr Richards sadly disclosed that “it is being neglected.” He regretted that “the upkeep and maintenance of the church over the years is being left in the hands of a few [parishioners].”
Mr Richards called on residents within the Maroon town vicinity which stretches from “Jokie Bridge” to Saw Pit” to realize that the church is a historical structure that aught to be preserved as a landmark of the community. State House is in Maroon Town; I hope the government will intervene for the preservation of this monument.
Giving a rundown of the Church’s bi-centenary fete, he said, “the last Sunday in September is young people’s day; in October we have Kabaslot en Kotoku Service; November we have harvest day celebration and in December we have the great Thanksgiving Day,” he revealed.
To mark this all important festivity, “the church is going to embark on a three floor building project. One of the floors is going to be for all the youths with in the Maroon town area for education and rehabilitation,” he explained.
The Maroons were runaway slaves who were banded together and subsisted independently. On the Caribbean Islands runaway slaves formed bands and on some islands formed armed camps.
Maroon communities faced great odds to survive against white attackers, obtain food for subsistence living, and to reproduce and increase their numbers. As the planters took over more land for crops, the Maroons began to vanish on the small islands. Only on some of the larger islands were organized Maroon communities able to thrive by growing crops and hunting.
Here they grew in number as more slaves escaped from plantations and joined their bands. Seeking to separate themselves from whites, the Maroons gained in power and amid increasing hostilities, they raided and pillaged plantations and harassed planters until the planters began to fear a mass slave revolt.
The early Maroon communities were usually displaced. One of the most influential Maroons was François Mackandal, a houngan, or voodoo priest, who led a six year rebellion against the white plantation owners in Haiti that preceded the Haitian Revolution.