Women in the street or in the Church?


Friday, April 13, 2018

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LAST week this time temperatures began to rise as the Jamaica Carnival Road March approached. That meant “jump-up” with many young women on the road sporting impy-skimpy costumes. Feathers and sequins were more in proportion than fabric. With what was left off and what remained it seems it was the guys who were enjoying themselves more than the young women.

In the days leading up to the parade on the road revellers tested out their moves. Some were at the various fetes and parties enjoying music and moves Trini-Style. The tiny bikinis have always been popular down south, ready for the Rio Carnival in Brazil. In time, tiny bikinis took over Trinidad too, and have made their way up north to the streets of Kingston.

Last Sunday, feathers were ready, the crowds were out, the roads were filled. The word “ubiquitous” made headlines. Problems arose when it was said that some people didn't receive their costumes in time or, if they did, they were ill-fitting and missing vital bits and pieces. Feathers weren't fluttering in the wind and questions arose.

The costumes came at a hefty price. No wonder the fans were upset when what had been paid for had not been delivered. Some who planned to “get on bad” half-naked in the streets had to settle for wearing T-shirts instead. As the parade wound its way through the streets last Sunday, many church-goers looked on in displeasure. What to do? Well, word has it a “Church Road March” will be staged later this year to show how they do things.

Since we're talking church, how much interest have you been taking in the current argument about women and their place in the Church? Recently, a male pastor had some harsh words for women in the church who wear lipstick, painted fingernails, and put on fake hair. It is said that he deemed such women as being prostitutes. Much has been said about what a “proper Christian woman” should look like. How do today's fashion and trends align with women of faith?

Another discussion is whether women should be given a place in church management or not. In recent months, talk has been gathering about the appointment of women to higher ranks in some of the established churches. What is really expected of them?

In February of this year, the Methodist Church in Jamaica elected the Rev Christine Gooden-Benguche as president of the Jamaica District, making her the first woman minister named Bishop for the local congregations. Last year, also, the Moravians elected a woman — Rev Phyllis Smith Seymour — to assume the role of president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica.

In 2010, Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a member of the Anglican Church in England, was appointed to be chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons in England. A daughter from a challenging community in Montego Bay, who to this day is well regarded for her contribution to the Anglican faith, “Sister Rose”, as she is fondly known, visits Montego Bay often and has not ceased her work in the Church.

Who says women have no place in the pulpit? Who says no woman should be so blessed? The times are changing and more women have been known to be called to the ministry. It is hoped that the development will continue to spread far and wide.

Mould woes

One of the most important among other challenges in this nation is surely that of the issues surrounding poor air quality at Cornwall Regional Hospital. Some 24 recommendations have been put forward by the Pan-American Health Organization to mitigate the problems created by mould growth throughout the hospital. To hear of the wide range of symptoms and effects which the problem has caused is alarming. Even as there are attempts to rectify the situation, the problems persist, placing health workers and the patients in a difficult and dangerous position.

The main building of the institution is many decades old. There are materials which were used in the construction that are no longer considered safe. The cost for renovation is large, but it cannot be ignored. The cleaning and repairing process must be done with careful attention and must be done as soon as possible.

Monitoring of the work is important to ensure that the problems are brought to immediate correction. The rescue mission cannot be too soon. It is to be hoped that help comes soon and very soon. Let us move and move fast, save the politicking for later. The survival of our people depend on it.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or

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