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Rev Hepburn: Make peace with yourself

By KARL E CUPID Tobago Bureau Sunday, May 4 2014

A religious leader yesterday emphasised the importance of making peace with one’s self before engaging in “war” with other persons.

Methodist Reverend Joseph Hepburn also urged the people of Trinidad and Tobago to “love yourself...love the skin you’re in; love the skin you’re in!”

As he delivered the sermon at the State ecumenical service for the late Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson, former president and prime minister at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet, Tobago, yesterday, Hepburn advised:

“We need to make peace with ourselves before attempting to make war with others.”

He was speaking to a congregation that included the country’s leaders — President Anthony Carmona, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London, among a host of other dignitaries, including Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

Rev Hepburn, who is based in the United States, sermonised on the ‘foundation’ text taken from Judges, Chapter 6: Verses 7 - 12, in the Bible, tying in the ‘sub-theme’ “Love Yourself: Love The Skin You’re In”.

He was specially commissioned to deliver the sermon at the funeral of the man who was a ‘pastor’ to him when he served in Port-of-Spain about a decade ago.

“I am happy today to take this time to thank the Robinson family, especially Anuska (grand-daughter) and Ann Margaret (daughter) for their care and support,” said Rev Hepburn. “Only a handful of persons, if so many, know that the Honourable Mr ANR Robinson was a ‘pastor’ to me when I pastored with the Methodist Church in Port of Spain, Trinidad, from 2004”. Rev Hepburn said while his mother was born in Tobago, he was born on the inter-island vessel between Trinidad and Tobago.

“And my eldest sister Pamela has been serving here as a nurse for 40 years. So I am going to speak to you freely and candidly today!”

He disclosed that the former president, prime minister, and inaugural chairman of the THA in 1980, received the presidential medal of honour from the California Lutheran University and was made Freeman of two cities in California, including Los Angeles.

Hepburn drew an analogy to the situation in which Gideon found himself (in the passage of scripture from Judges), where he had to make peace with himself before contemplating how to confront the formidable army of some 135,000 soldiers before him, in a position where he only had 300 men.

“Yet even before the battle, God came, sending messengers to him, and said, ‘Oh most valiant of men, the Lord is with you’. The message to us today, brothers and sisters, is that we need to make peace with ourselves before attempting to make war with others. You need to love the skin you’re in,” Rev Hepburn extolled.

He noted that Robinson came from one of the smallest and perhaps poorest territories at that time in the Caribbean and faced the fall of the West Indian Federation. He said as the first Finance Minister in an independent Trinidad and Tobago Robinson had to “face the equation one from ten leaves 0.

“Mathematically and philosophically Anuska would tell you that is a very daunting and completely impossible task to face. And so, coming from this poorest of communities, he actually started with minuses, not only zeroes, but minuses,” said Hepburn.

However, quoting the words of a wise man: ‘a minus is really half of a plus waiting for a stroke of vertical dimension’, Rev Hepburn noted that because of Robinson’s faith and optimism which gave him “peace of mind for the decisions he would have to make”, he was able to succeed.

“And so to him I say, ‘The Lord is with you, oh most valiant of men!” Rev Hepburn extolled, as he urged the congregation:

“As God was patient with Gideon, so we need to be patient with our leaders, especially now in a climate-changing and complex technological world. We can only effectively do that by making peace with ourselves before making war with others,”he stressed.

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