A historic moment at the 27th CARICOM Heads of Government in St. Kitts was the Prayer Breakfast that preceded the actual business of the conference. For the first time delegates to the conference took time to pray together on the first morning of the conference.
Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts hosted and moderated the breakfast. Dr. Douglas was a key person involved in the planning of the breakfast. Prime Minister the Most Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller of Jamaica along with Miss Khalea Robinson, CARICOM Youth Ambassador from St. Kitts, led the prayers. Keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. Gerry Seale, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean.
Dr. Seale, speaking from Proverbs 3:5-6, challenged the more than 80 persons present – including Heads of Government, Cabinet Ministers, ambassadors, senior civil servants, and CARICOM Secretariat staff – to make faith an integral part of life and work. Drawing from Scripture and major historical figures, Dr. Seale outlined the major role of positive faith in accomplishment.
The event was modelled after the International Prayer Breakfast which has been held annually since 1985 in the United Nations Delegates’ Dining Room on the Opening Day of the UN General Assembly. Many of the Permanent Representatives of CARICOM member states at the UN have been regular and encouraging participants in this event.
In September 2000 the Millennium Summit International Prayer Breakfast preceded this historic gathering of Heads of State and Government at the United Nations. Nearly 350 delegates from over 100 countries attended this breakfast event held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
This generated interest from the African Union in a similar event at their summit. The first annual Prayer Breakfast was held in 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique. His Excellency Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Republic of Nigeria, was moderator. The fourth African Union Prayer Breakfast was held this past January in Khartoum, Sudan.
The CARICOM Prayer Breakfast was a gift of friendship from the Caribbean Community Prayer Breakfast Committee and funded by private donations under the auspices of the Christian Embassy at the UN. Christian Embassy is a non-political, ecumenical NGO started in 1980 to serve the spiritual and social needs of the international diplomatic community by offering a Christian perspective on vital issues faced by international leaders, in a spirit of friendship and respect.
Many persons who attended the CARICOM Prayer Breakfast this week in St. Kitts expressed the hope that it would become an annual event.