September 9, 2020

It has been two days since we learned of the horrific murders of Isaiah Henry and Joel Henry, and the mutilation of their bodies which were discovered in the backdam of Cotton Tree village, West Coast Berbice. Young men whose lives were cut down in their prime. Sleep has fled as we think and pray for their parents, siblings, neighbors, and yes, this hapless nation.

As preachers, we are driven by the counsel of Lemuel’s mother: “Open your mouth for the speechless … And plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8, 9) Those are words of wisdom that are relevant to all clothed with authority. While still numb and angry, with the shocking happenings under the sun in one of our pleasant, peaceful villages over the last weekend, we take refuge in the fact that above the sun, the voices of their blood cry out to God from the ground. (Genesis 4:10) In that Court, their painful cries have been heard, and God will respond.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, along with others, has commiserated with the bereaved families and has urged the relevant officials “to deploy all needed resources to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

In this painful, fluctuating drama that is presently unfolding, the nation can benefit from the clear insight of Isaiah’s father. Mr. Gladson Henry, in all of his grief, was quoted as saying, “This is not about race or religion or political things. I am talking on my own behalf. This is not about all these things, but this is for justice for my son’s innocent life.”

We, therefore unreservedly join in the condemnation of this dastardly act and all other acts of violence. May God help our skillful crime sleuths in their investigations, resulting in convictions of those responsible for this heinous act.

As a result of this tragedy, may we, as a nation find the courage to begin a serious conversation on healing the divisions here, with the view of building shalom communities across this land. We call upon all churches to join in a season of prayer and fasting for our nation, the Co‑operative Republic of Guyana.

Bishop John. O Smith

General Bishop & Members of the Executive Presbytery

Assemblies of God,

Guyana 2020-09-08