Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jamaica to honor "Armstrongite"

Government honors Church of God International regional pastor
KINGSTON, Jamaica--The government of Jamaica announced Aug. 6, 2009, it will formally honor Ian Boyne, the 52-year-old pastor of the Church of God International in Jamaica, for his achievements as a journalist.

Mr. Boyne will receive the Commander of the Order of Distinction award, effectively the third-highest distinction in the land, for his work as a commentator, writer and reporter.

Strictly speaking, it is the fifth-highest government-sponsored award. However, the No. 1 accolade is for a "national hero," held only by historical figures who fought against slavery (which ended in 1838) and worked for Jamaican independence (accomplished in 1961).

The No. 2 honor goes only to prime ministers and the governor-general.

"I think the national honor is quite a tribute to the COG movement," Mr. Boyne told The Journal. "We have been told by our critics that our minds are so much on the world tomorrow that we are of no earthly good. This award to a longtime, quote, Armstrongite, unquote, proves otherwise."

COG tribute

The Jamaican pastor is a celebrity in his country.

He appears weekly on national television with his show, Profile, and writes a weekly newspaper column.

Desmond Allen, founding editor of the Jamaica Observer (jamaicaobserver.com) congratulated his colleague:

Inspiring source

"Boyne has been a standard bearer and has generally managed to avoid the isms and schisms that divide journalists and reduce our prestige, a bad streak in us but for which we all need to take responsibility," Mr. Allen wrote. "Big up, Ian. You have done us proud."

Glenford Smith, a member of the Jamaica CGI, commented on the Jamaica Observer's Web site:

"What a fitting tribute to one of Jamaica's most hard-working, versatile, consistently excellent and intellectually gifted journalists. [Mr. Boyne's] television programme Profile has been a remarkable source of inspiration to countless Jamaicans through the years.

"His newspaper column brings a rare but refreshing intellectual rigour to issues of relevance to the nation.

"His television programme, Religious Hard Talk, has smashed the door from the cave of religious darkness to let in the sunlight, and expose the myths, beliefs and rituals of every faith and spiritual tradition.

"It is apt that Ian Boyne should receive this honour when Jamaica's Independence theme is 'We Believe in Jamaica.' He, more than any other journalist, has done more to promote self-belief and inspire personal greatness throughout his long, exemplary and multifaceted career. His is a well-deserved honour."

The government announced Mr. Boyne's award on Jamaica's Independence Day, Aug. 6. Jamaica achieved its independence from Britain in 1962, although it remains a realm of the Commonwealth of Nations, with Queen Elizabeth II as monarch.

Formal presentation

Mr. Boyne is scheduled to formally receive the award on National Heroes Day, Oct. 19.

Read about the work of the CGI in Jamaica and elsewhere at http://www.cgi.org/.