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Icebox vendors shelter rain while waiting for sales at Kingstown Cemetery on Sunday. (iWN photo)
Icebox vendors shelter rain while waiting for sales at Kingstown Cemetery on Sunday. (iWN photo)

While icebox vendors use funerals and almost any other activity to make some money, one pastor says that he believes that the government should ban the sale of alcoholic drinks at funerals.

Bishop, Julius Louis, used his sermon on Sunday at the funeral of 19-year-old Aziza Dennie to make his case.

Dennie, along with fellow St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College students, Daneé Deverey Horne, 18 of Questelles; and Carianne Lebrara Padmore, 18, of New Prospect, died in a car crash in Barbados on Jan. 29.

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In his sermon, based on Ecclesiastes 7, Louis said he was not sure how many of the funeral attendees were truly aware of why they are at the funeral service.

He suggested that people would say they are there to give support and show solidarity.

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But he quoted Ecclesiastes 7:1-4, which says:

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born. Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies— so the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.

Louis noted the festivities that accompany funerals today.

“I wish the government can find some place and bring something new in our constitution according to the law of the state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and ensure that no icebox, no side road bars, when we should be focusing soberly,” he said, again quoting the Bible’s comments about funerals and festivals.

“And the devil is so subtle in his ways, oh my God, there are some people, they just listen for the obituaries and they just want to know where there is a funeral service and we get all the side road bars.

“It’s a set up. It’s set up. It’s the devil’s work,” he said, adding that when he was a little boy and there was a funeral service, shops would close and there would be days of sadness and mourning and there will be soberness of hearts and minds.

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Bishop Julius Louis hold up the Bible during his sermon on Sunday. (iWN photo)

Louis said that worst yet is the number of iceboxes and sidebars at the cemetery waiting for the funeral.

“It must be stopped. The word of God is here to open our eyes, to clear our understanding. God did not say that at funeral service we are to have drinking and partying and selling the liquor.”

He quoted the bible as saying that a wise person thinks a lot about death but the fool thinks only about having a nice time.

“So I want somebody to tell me what is going on with these side bars. People want to come to funeral service and have a good time. The bible condemns that and I wish it stops [in] the soonest time possible,” he said at the funeral at Faith Deliverance Church, where a number of mobile icebox bars were selling alcoholic and other drinks outside.

Louis noted that the funeral service was not to speak to Dennie or the other two students who died.

“If you have a few cents in your pocket and you are hoping that when you leave here you are going to buy a beer, you are going to buy a Guinness, you are going to buy a PT, somebody hear me, somebody hear me please. It is here: Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.  A wise person thinks about death while fools want to have parties.

“Save your money and save your kidney. Save you money, save your liver, save your money,” he said, adding that he knows he will come up against opposition for his comments.

“But all these things destroy organs in your body,” Louis said, adding that he was once a hard drinker and also smoked marijuana and cigarettes”

2 replies on “Pastor wants iceboxes banned from funerals”

  1. Often times I wonder what really happened to your traditional way of doing funerals. Many may argue that all the festivities, music (non-religious) and party style atmosphere, is in a way celebrating the life of the deceased. But why does everything has to be a party or celebration? Can the love ones be allowed to mourn the dead without be bombarded by a fanfare of party atmosphere? To me, it shows we have no common respect for the living nor the dead. In life we go through many phases, in life we celebrate and in death we should mourn, simple.

    Also, I agree that ice boxes and the selling of items at funeral should not be allowed. I do not believe it should be something that the government should legislate, but instead that the people do not do it out of common courtesy and respect for the family and the deceased. As the Bible said, there’s a time for everything under heaven: a time to party and a time mourn…no wonder we are becoming a heartless society because we take every opportunity to party and not to value life itself. Just my thoughts!

  2. Ecclesiastes is not the word of God; It consists of a lot of rambling thoughts by King Solomon, the son of King David, and others, a bible chapter that have been given much higher canonical standing than it deserves and was included in the Old Testament only because of Solomon’s power.

    This self-proclaimed “Bishop” has no clue about either the history or meaning of true Christian faith and its biblical accuracy.

    Our funerals are a continuation of the traditions of our African ancestors where death was simultaneously a time of mourning and celebration, a feature it shares with funerary beliefs and practices around the world.

    These self-styled preachers and their churches — of which our society has far too many — are only serving to keep us backward, ignorant, and helpless.

    This charlatan should do us all a favour and go back to heavy drinking and weed smoking: his comments at this funeral show that before he was saved from his bad ways, he used to talk a lot more sense!

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