Pastor Kumal Smith giving a lively sermon at the annual Thanksgiving service on Sunday evening.

Dignitaries and audience members at the annual Thanksgiving service.

PHILIPSBURG--The annual Thanksgiving service was held at the Government Administration Building in Philipsburg on Sunday evening. The theme for this year’s service was, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good”.

A crowd of more than 100 persons attended the service, including Governor Eugene Holiday and First Lady Marie-Louise Holiday; Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs; Finance Minister and Acting Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Ardwell Irion; Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Minister Chris Wever; Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Minister Melissa Arrindell-Doncher; Minister Plenipotentiary Rene Violenes; Parliament Chairperson William Marlin; and Members of Parliament (MPs) Sarah Wescot-Williams of United Democrats (UD), Wycliffe Smith of St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP), and Anna Richardson of National Alliance (NA).

The service started off with 30 minutes of praise and worship by the Christian Faith Ministries International (CFMI) worship team.

Elfreda Rombley-Lake then gave the opening prayer, which was followed by the St. Martin Song.

Several hymns were sung at the service, including “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, “Thank You, Lord” and “Count Your Blessings”. A presentation was also made by Total Restoration Dance Ministry.

Pastor Kumal Smith of Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church gave a lively sermon in the middle of the service that emphasised holding onto God during hardships and struggle. His words moved many in the crowd, who responded with shouts of affirmation, “Amen” and “Hallelujah.”

Jacobs gave some remarks at the beginning of the service and Irion gave the vote of thanks near the end.

“Let us start by thanking the Almighty God for making today’s occasion a success and for also sparing us another hurricane season. Although Hurricane Irma was two years ago, the effects are still felt today. However, through it all we must be grateful and thankful for life.

“… I would like to emphasise the power of gratitude. By practising gratitude, we will not only attract what we would like to see for ourselves, but we will also attract what we would like to see for our country. I would like to therefore challenge every single one of us to be grateful and thankful always,” said Irion.

Archdeacon Terrence Rawlins of the Anglican Church gave the benediction.

The service was a collaboration of government, the St. Maarten Christian Council, the St. Maarten United Ministerial Foundation and the SDA Church.