?In his statement to the Parliament yesterday on the controversial church being constructed at the Heights of Guanapo, Prime Minister Patrick Manning alluded that two journalists had a spiritual experience when they went on assignment at the church.
Manning said, "I am calling on those two journalists to report totally, completely, accurately, and faithfully exactly what happened in that experience. "I know all about it. So I am in a position to audit what they say. I'm giving them one week in which to do it. It put the fear of God in their hearts. And I am sure that they are now rethinking their position on all of this... but I leave that." Guardian reporter Michelle Loubon visited the church on Tuesday and although she had a news report on Wednesday's Guardian, the following is her account on how she obtained the information:
It was a hot day when photographer Keith Matthews and I drove past the two stout pillars that led to Cemetery Street, Heights of Guanapo, on Tuesday. In the distance, the site of the controversial Light of the Light-house Church of Jesus Christ was spotted. As we got closer, we saw, perched on the rooftop, Chinese men in yellow hard hats. A dread-locked woman in a black security guard uniform stood outside an entrance to the site. A stone's throw from the church, it sounded as though church was in session. Indeed, it was. On the ground floor of a building, singing wafted across the midday air. Other photographers used the top of the building as a vantage point to take photos of the church.
With camera in hand, Matthews said, "Talk to those people in there." At first, I hesitated, thinking how could I interrupt the service. But, I grabbed my note book and left the car. At the entrance, a half-Chinese woman, in a blue top approached me. At first, they, too, seemed curious as to who these "strangers" were at their place of worship. I introduced myself. I told her that we had been hearing these rumours about Prime Minister Patrick Manning being associated with a church in this remote community. We wanted to clear the air on whether there were any links with a "seerwoman", Juliana Pena. I also apologised for interrupting the service.
The woman, whom I would later learn was Shirlain Fermin, launched into a history of the Fermins–who had been tied to the land for generations. She explained her ancestors had bought the land for agriculture. "We are the third generation of Fermins," she said. Again, I broached the subject about Pena. Fermin said, "She adios out of town. We remained here. The Lord raised up a new work. Over there (pointing to the site) is Lighthouse Ministries of Jesus Christ. We are Jesus The Light of This World Ministry." "Rev Pena took some members and left," she added.
"The Lord raised up a new place for us," Fermin said. Her nephew David Madeira got the vision for the artwork which decorates the church's walls. Fermin enquired whether I knew the Lord. I told her yes. Matthews appeared in the doorway and Fermin invited him to join in the service. She asked him if he knew the Lord and he said yes. Everyone stood up. Singing, clapping and worshipping began. A young woman stood up and led the congregation in the singing of choruses. Then, prophetess Cindy Blanc began speaking in tongues. Fermin said Blanc would bring the word of prophecy.
Building is God's
Attired in a long skirt and blouse, a bare-footed Blanc said the contentious building had been ordained by God for his work. Blanc said the Lord had revealed to her: "That building is mine. My name is on it." Among those in attendance were Fermin's relatives including her sister Pastor Cathy Fermin. There were also children present.
Flag the story
Blanc told us to be careful. "Your job is a dangerous job. You have to write a report. But sometimes you might not come back," she said. She also said the story of the church was not a story to be pursued. "Keep it alone. Do not pursue it. God has a hand in it. Whatever we have told you, do not pursue it," she said. Blanc said, "PM can do what he wants. Anyone that riseth up against me will be brought to nothing." After the service, Fermin reminded us."You heard what Blanc said,'Kill the story'." Fermin, too, defended the building saying the Lord had told David to build a temple. As the service progressed, she reached for Matthews and began praying with him. She was joined by other elders like Fermin and her sister Cathy Fermin. Then, Blanc began praying with me. She said, "If you say you are a child of God, you have to do the things that are of God." I agreed. As we drove off, we pondered the things we had experienced in our hearts.