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USC Introduces New Market Day
26-09-16 | Debbie Ann Estwick/USC Church
Sunday, September 25th, 2016 saw the carpark of the University of the Southern Caribbean packed with people, tents and free goods as the Caring University Church; University body; The Honourable Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and community members came together to share and celebrate in a newly introduced, local, Thanksgiving tradition.
The event, which was initially pioneered by Pastor Courtney Francois of the South Caribbean Conference, encourages Trinbagonians to celebrate a local Thanksgiving day on the Sunday closest to Republic Day by sharing and giving thanks to God for blessings. The Thanksgiving Market Day saw persons donating produce, canned goods, packaged non-perishables and clothing to the market and collecting much more in return.
Pastor Terry John, Lead Pastor at the Caring University Church and Vice-President for Spiritual Development at the University of the Southern Caribbean spearheaded a collection drive at the University church to ensure that community members could share in the blessings of the church. “The Market Day has been a tremendous initiative to engage the community and provide for their needs… they bring their produce, we provide a lot of produce. If you bring one thing, you end up going with an assortment of other items.” Dr. Sylvan Lashley, Dean of the School of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Continuing Studies noted the involvement of faculty, staff and students from the University in connecting with the surrounding local community through the event. He expressed his pleasure in the support and goodwill shown saying, “We’re happy for this moment and this grand climax of the community coming together.”
Dr. Lashley was joined in his positive response by The Honourable Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts. She noted that it was "...Good for the church to reach out to the community in a way that is not necessarily pegged on the spiritual but filling their physical needs.” Initiatives such as the Thanksgiving Market Day support The Honourable Minister Gadsby-Dolly’s vision: “I want to ensure that there is opportunity for everyone to succeed... One of the main things is partnering with community groups: churches, village councils, who are actually doing things in the community because they know the needs.” She added that “…the important thing for me is to be able to link with them, support them in any way I can and if there are any challenges they are facing, help them to surmount those so that the community will be better served. That has been my focus and will continue to be my focus going forward.”
Both the church and the University are committed to serving God and people. The Thanksgiving Market Day was an opportunity to publicly express praise to God. Pastor Francois summed up the over-arching purpose of the day saying, "The best way to give thanks is to give and that's what we're trying to achieve".