PHILIPSBURG —Former candidate of the United St. Maarten Party Fernando Clark is speaking out against Churches criticizing the islands Carnival festivities annually. “Do something about it, don’t just sit back and watch it happen. Get involved and make it better” he stated firmly in an interview on Friday afternoon.
For years several church groups have been critical of the practices of Carnival and have publicly condemned the islands biggest festival. One visiting pastor to the island gave the definition of Carnival to its congregation which is the celebration of the flesh. In Caribbean countries many changed the carnival name to festival.
Clark says his concern stems from religious sections of the community tending to criticize the event as if there is absolutely nothing good in it. “I think the churches can learn a thing or two from the j’ouvert morning jump up, which manages to bring thousands of people together at 4 o’clockin the morning, while the churches can hardly get two hundred people to congregate at 11am on their respective days of worship. This is not a criticism of the church, it is a fact.”
Clark continued in the interview by stating “Maybe we should not call it carnival, but most of the celebrations does not mean that we worship flesh during the season.” he admitted that St. Maarten gets its share of bad behavior during carnival time however he challenged the churches to get involved and make a difference. “In some countries we have pastors opening carnival, encouraging good behavior and praying for the masses to have a good carnival season”.
Clark says whether the churches like it or not, Carnival is here to stay and this is part of our culture.
During the Carnival season, church groups’ hosts several conferences for its members and the public. In the past, Carnival foundation Presidents always took into account the lent period in April, scheduling the events after or sometimes in between. Clark calls on the churches to do what they are supposed to do which is convert sinners into their community and promote the ways of their beliefs. He continued asking the question why the Churches do not take a night in the village to have a gospel night. “If you don’t want to get involved and do this, which means you (the churches) are doing contrary to what Jesus Christ is preaching. Jesus said he is coming for the sinners and not run away from them” Clark concluded in his statement.