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by Tracie Blake, Associate Writer
Religion is a very important part of everyday life in Jamaica. Primarily on Saturdays and Sundays the streets are filled with adults and children holding their Bibles and heading to and from Church.
There is a church on almost every corner of Jamaican streets. I am serious! Check the Guinness Book of World Records; we are listed as the country with the most churches per square mile!
As slaves, our descendants were not allowed to attend church. But, they were given Sunday as a rest day. On this day, their Masters would attend church and the slaves were left up to their own devices. So, they decided to keep church also. These ‘services’ consisted mainly of singing, drumming & dancing.
This changed somewhat when the Bible was first introduced by two black pastors in 1770 that were freed and took up their homes in Jamaica.
They were Baptists and preached and read to the slaves from the Bible. They eventually setup schools and taught the slaves to read so they could read and understand the bible for themselves.
This blossomed into a strong Christianity faith.
To today’s date, Jamaicans have remained predominantly Christians. However, this has been broken off into many different denominations such as:
In fact, there are over one hundred denominations in Jamaica, however, the Church of God and Seventh Day Adventist accounting for the major proportion of the group.
The one constant in all these congregations however is Christianity.
With the mixture of many cultures in the island, other non traditional religions were were introduced.
Religion here is truly a testament to the diversity of our people. Our motto could not be more fitting; after all, it is ‘Out of Many One People’.