The Royal Bahamas Police Force, Abaco District, held its annual church service on February 12 at the Saint John the Baptist Anglican Church, Marsh Harbour. In addition to The Royal Bahamas Police Force, the service was also attended by The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Road Traffic Department, Bahamas Immigration Department and Bahamas Customs Department.
The service is always preceded by a parade of all the uniformed law enforcement branches led by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band. This year the parade began and ended at the new government complex in Dundas Town. Pastors from several different church denominations participated in the service along with members of all of the uniformed branches.
The service began with rousing fanfare from the RBPF Band which also presented a selection later in the service as well as providing a strong accompaniment to the excellent congregational hymn singing.
The sermon was delivered by the Reverend Willish Johnson, Rector of the host church. Rev. Johnson was ordained as a Deacon in 2002 and served as Assistant Priest in parishes on several of the Family Islands before her posting to Abaco in 2005. She made history on her appointment to St. John The Baptist, Marsh Harbour, as she became the first female Bahamian Rector of the Anglican Church of The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands.
Reverend Johnson took as her text Matthew 5: 1-14 (The Beatitudes) and preached a forceful sermon which, while directed most specifically to the tasks of the uniformed services, also presented a very valuable message to the entire congregation and people throughout The Bahamas.
She told the officers that they have an awesome responsibility and that while their task is not an easy one they get their greatest mandate from knowing the Master. “Many look up to you and count on you but who do you look up to?” she asked then told them to “look up to Jesus, the greatest teacher that ever lived and become His disciple.”
Reverend Johnson spoke of the challenges the nation is facing and the serious issues needing to be dealt with and asked all to consider if they are giving their best for the advancement of God’s people here on earth.
“Crime and violence are on the rise; this is a generation of young people with no regard for law or life. We must ask ourselves if we have come to the Maker or moved him so far away from our existence that we do not know him anymore.”
She told the officers that God knows the difficult task He has called them to but if they spend time with God they can give to others and He will protect and keep them and enable them to live a life of integrity.
Each year a very moving part of the service takes place near the close when the colours of The Bahamas and the Police Standard are presented in preparation for the Remembrance of the Deceased. The names of the officers fallen from the ranks during the previous year are read by officers of each of the departments. This is followed by the playing of the Last Post and Reveille by trumpeters of the RBPF Band.
At the close of the service, following the singing of The National Anthem of The Bahamas, members of the uniformed forces led by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, marched from the church then joined with members of the congregation in the Parish hall for fellowship and refreshments.