By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
This year’s Baptist Day Parade, to take place this Sunday, will honour Bishop Simeon B Hall, a noted preacher, evangelist and social activist.
The Baptist Day Parade is expected to leave the Town Centre Mall at 2pm, travelling east on to Robinson Road, continuing on to Prince Charles, north on Jean Street East, and ending at the William Thompson Auditorium.
The New Covenant Baptist Church, where Bishop Hall served for 30 years, will lead the parade.
According to organisers of the celebration, the Baptist Day Parade started 59 years ago when Baptist leaders sought to bring attention to themselves in light of the prevailing social and religious prejudices of the day.
“Bishop Hall retired as senior pastor of New Covenant some five years ago. He began preaching when he was 17 years old and at age 70 he is still proclaiming and teaching the Word of God.
“Pastor Hall’s religious journey began in 1964 after attending a city-wide crusade at Central Gospel Chapel off Shirley Street,” said the organisers.
Reflecting on his journey, Bishop Hall said: “I grew up in the Choke Neck Alley area off Market Street, two corners south east of Transfiguration Baptist Church.
“I had a spiritual encounter; an epiphany. Indeed, a radical mental transformation.
“The first thing my conversion experience did for me was, it gave me an insatiable thirst for education.”
At age 19, the young preacher enrolled at Aquinas College’s night classes. He speaks emotionally of a Roman Catholic nun who took an interest in his challenges and encouraged him to apply himself.
“She affirmed me as a person and told me I bore the image of God regardless of the circumstances of birth or the neighbourhood where I lived,” said Bishop Hall.
In 1969, Bishop Hall was accepted to register at the American Baptist Theological Seminary. Since that time, he has preached throughout the Bahamas, the Caribbean, in Cuba, Singapore, South America, the Philippines, Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, England, and 45 states in the US.
This upcoming celebration shines light on his remarkable journey.