Bahamians in South Florida, persons of Bahamian descent and friends of The Bahamas recently gathered at St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church, Miami, Florida. The occasion was an Independence Ecumenical Service celebrating the 44th anniversary of the Independence of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas which was on July 10.Among the speakers at the service, His Excellency Mr. Reuben Rahming, The Bahamas/CARICOM Ambassador-designate, received enthusiastic cheers telling those in attendance, “The greatest asset of The Bahamas is not sun sand or sea, but WE (the people).”The service themed, “Towards the Rising Sun,” began with a warm welcome from the First Lady of the Church, Mrs. Evelyn Brown, wife of Pastor Rev. Dr. Vincent Brown. Other speakers included Richard Treco, Consul General of The Bahamas to Florida, and Senator Fred Mitchell, former Minister of Foreign Affairs. The keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Jerome Symonette, of Restoring Grace Community Church, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.During the service, The Bahamas Consulate General Office, Florida, honored a number of persons from the local Bahamian community. Another highlight of the service was a solo by Acneal L. Williams, Masters of Classical Voice Program at Howard University (currently interning with the local Consulate office).Those in attendance included from the Diplomatic Corps, Consul General Franz Hall, Jamaica; Consul Dave Spence, Trinidad & Tobago and Commissioner Thomas Dorsett – West Park Florida. Clergymen included Rev. David Ellis, Pastor Mike Brennen, Pastor Byron Braynen, Bishop Dexter Rolle (Bimini), Rev. Carroll Storr, Bishop Francis Curry, McQuaise Hepburn, Minister Horace Hord, Fr. Denrick Rolle, Rev. Leslie McMillan, Rev. Charles Thompson, and Rev. James Ferguson.The Ecumenical service was one of a number of events planned by the local South Florida Bahamian community to celebrate the 44th birthday of The Bahamas as a nation. On Saturday, July 8th, Bahamians in Florida celebrated with a picnic at the Virginia Cay Beach, Miami.This Saturday, July 22nd, The Independence celebration events will continue with the National Association of The Bahamas (NAB) Annual Scholarship Ball, which will take place at the Shula’s Hotel and Golf Club, Miami.