This year, Key West’s Bahama Village has a new leader to showcase. A minister because he “was called to it,” Pastor Sinclair Forbes of Bethel AME Church knew his greatest commitment in life would be to serve and help the community.
“I’m good at oral communication and the Lord has been good to me,” remarks Pastor Forbes.
He says his ability to communicate was evident at an early age, and recalls, “When I was 18 months old, I could recite all of the fifty states and their capitals.”
Growing up, Forbes’ family shared many common values: faith in God, importance of education, and a love of football.
He recalls, “Education was the principal point of our lives, but it was our faith in God that sustained us.”
Hailing from a family of educators, Forbes and his family share over 100 years of combined teaching experience. His grandfather, grandmother, mother, brother, and himself either are, or were, educators. His grandfather and brother also coached basketball and football; which, Forbes loves to indulge in via the TV.
But, he’s not glued to the tube since moving here. The cultural experience is what Forbes loves about island living.
“The community is so laid-back and diverse,” raves Pastor Forbes. “The people are very open and unique and the food is mouth-watering.” Some of his favorite hangouts include El Siboney and Alonzo’s, where he might be found foraging for his favorite food, steak.
Before relocating to Key West, Forbes worked for President Obama’s election campaign in Pensacola as the Regional Field Manager for the Florida Panhandle region. He provided general and religious outreach, ran meetings, supervised interns, and coordinated visits by local celebrities. Here in the state’s southernmost city, Pastor Forbes continues to busy himself with community involvement. His newest venture: Affirmative Action for the Democratic Party, in which he hopes to serve as a liaison between the local community and elected officials.
“A lot of people don’t feel like they have a voice; this way I can help represent them and their issues to congressmen and commissioners,” he explained with excitement.
Unofficially, he thinks of himself as the “Mayor of Bahama Village” because of his efforts to meet the needs of every person in his congregation and community.
Additionally, he serves as the secretary for Interfaith Ministerial Alliance and volunteers as a mentor for the Take Stock in Children program.
Today as a minister, Forbes strives to make his sermons relevant by wrapping them around current events. The economic recession and graduation are two topics he’s recently preached from the pulpit.
“We’re the church of what’s happening.” he relays with unabashed glee.
Forbes says his church doors are open to anyone who would like to walk in; regardless of race, class, or sexual orientation. In fact, he craves more diversity.
“I want people to see us as a hangout, to feel accepted and comfortable here,” affirms the Pastor.
Bethel AME Church is located at 223 Truman Avenue. Church services are held at 10:30 Sunday mornings. Pastor Forbes can be reached at 305•294•9951.
Goombay Summer Fest set for June 27
Goombay Summer Fest, a high-energy street festival featuring live music, is scheduled noon to midnight Saturday, June 27. The family-friendly festival celebrates the Keys’ Bahamian-flavored heritage.
Events are to take place in front of the Coral City Elks Lodge, 1107 Whitehead St. on the edge of the island’s historic Bahama Village district.
Planned attractions include open-mike opportunities for talented local entertainers, arts and food at booths set up by selected vendors and a chance to meet and greet musicians and community leaders.
Attendees can browse the creative and artistic offerings as well as sample mouthwatering taste treats. Kids are invited to strut their stuff at Children’s Hours featuring open-mike opportunities, and showcased musicians are to share a stage set up on Whitehead Street.
The entertainment lineup includes local and regional bands, solo performers and church choirs. Scheduled highlights include an appearance by the Key West Island Junkanoos.
Admission is free.