Saphire Faith International Ministries is at it again with its second annual Start Your Year Strong summit.
Under the auspices of Church of God Glory Temple, the virtual summit will take place today at 4pm.
Although initially planned for the start of the year, having the summit now has actually worked out better considering 2020’s many challenges said cohost Marlene Flynn.
“We have had to put a spin on the name” she said.
“Many businesses started off on a good footing in January 2020, but now realise that they will have to put things in place to restart their year.
“On January 1, we entered a new decade. Many of us looked at this decade with much optimism of turning over a new leaf with a list of new year’s resolutions.
Some of us were even more ambitious than others and ventured to make some “new decade” resolutions.
“Five months into 2020 and we are already wondering if this year could get any worse with the current series of unfortunate events that we have experienced thus far — Kobe Bryant’s death; locust swarms; Australia’s bushfires; major earthquakes, with the strongest magnitude in the Caribbean island of Jamaica; gas plants and gas stations exploding; the Taal volcano eruption; devastating floods in Indonesia; and now the coronavirus pandemic with its daily rising death toll.”
Digesting the string of events could be challenging even for believers, Ms Flynn said.
As such, it is even more important to stay connected in faith and worship to navigate through these times.
“When crisis occurs our natural reaction is to question God. We ask, ‘Why Lord?’ But there is a better and more positive way to respond to crisis. God’s reassurance that He will never leave us in the midst of a storm is not fake news!
“In the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we thought about ourselves, our families. We started to hoard toilet paper then we moved to toilet paper and food; grocery lines were full to capacity, people were in a panic as if the world was going to roll off a cliff.
“Then, as if a lightbulb went off, we started to wonder if this is the way that we should react to trials and tests. As Christians, our belief is in the word of God, which told us that these days will come. When does our faith kick in?”
The theme and text for the summit is based on 2 Corinthians 4:8 which, in the New International Version, reads: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
The topics and speakers for the webinar are all designed to energise people and remind them that even in the midst of much uncertainty, God is still at work.
In addition to Ms Flynn, Pastor Laquita Landy, Chaplain Shaunté Simons, Pastor Shannell Burrows, the Reverend Clarke Minors, Danette Ming, the Reverend Blanche Burchall and Bishop Lloyd Duncan will all speak.
The speakers and organisers hope that the messages delivered this afternoon will inspire people to shift their perspective on the pandemic in a way that strengthens their faith and breeds gratitude.
“We have all had to do a double take and many are now saying ‘Thank God for Covid-19’,” Ms Flynn said.
“It has reminded us that no matter how self-reliant we think we have become as a people, we are not in control and must be dependent on God. We are reminded that we must be grateful for all things — toilet paper and all.
“It has reminded us not to take our good health for granted and those of us who have fallen by the wayside in our health have been encouraged to eat healthy and exercise.
“We recognise now, more than ever, that life is indeed fragile and we should be grateful to God for the miracle of life.”
• The Start Your Year Strong summit can be viewed free on Zoom (meeting ID: 84180287871; password: 28037) and will also be streamed live on the Saphire Faith International Ministries Facebook page. For information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-1045