October 11, 2019 | Montego Bay, Jamaica | Nigel Coke/IAD
President of the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, Pastor Glen Samuels, has challenged the church to make a difference in the lives of Jamaicans who are detached from society through “a glorious opportunity of mentoring the next generation.”
“The building of a better nation requires all hands on deck,” said Samuels. “The building of a better nation rests not in the pronouncements of Parliament. We must begin where we give birth to our sons and daughters. We must change the picture to be more responsible men and women because to a great extent, the breakdown of our home, the breakdown of social order lay at the root of the chaos we face.”
Samuels was addressing the annual Western Leadership Conference on Oct. 6, 2019, at the Seventh-day Adventist Conference Center in Mount Salem under the theme “Beyond the Ordinary: Building a better Nation, Mentoring the next Generation.”
“It is our conviction that church is more than fancy hats, black suits, or blue suits and shiny shoes,” Samuels continued. “It’s our conviction that the real church takes place after we leave church.
It is against that background that young people are engaged in this mentorship program, he added. “In St. James we have approximately 20 teams in terms of netball and football, where half the team is made up of Christians and the other half is made up of the ones whose behavior we try to change because we believe we are salt of the earth and a light to the world.”
The conference’s social Intervention Program covers the areas of education, community services, health and wellness and youth mentorship. Since the start of the year, approximately eleven million (US$81,000.00) has been spent across the four areas of the program.
Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang, recently said that social intervention programs implemented in the parish of St James over the years have failed to reduce major crimes. However, in reference to the Minister’s statement Samuels opined that “some may question the extent to which social intervention programs will succeed. But I stand as an unrepentant disciple in believing that every life that is redirected is a success story, for every youngster to be directed into productive and wholesome life.”
Police statistics has shown that most major crimes committed in Jamaica were done by youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age. The parish of St. James is currently under a State of Emergency in order to help curtail the high level of crime and violence in that particular parish.
Also, addressing the audience which included Mayor of Montego Bay, Councilor Homer Davis, Director of Public Prosecution and guest speaker, Ms. Paula Llewellyn, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Peter Phillips, and other political and civic leaders, was Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica.
“The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Jamaica is committed to nation building,” said Pastor Brown. “Not only are we committed to sharing the gospel, we are committed to the wholistic development of people. And so as we point people to Jesus Christ we believe it is our God-given responsibility to help them to live and experience quality of life. The Church is always willing, the Church stands ready to partner with government, non-governmental organization, and other faith-based organizations, as we pool our resources together to make Jamaica the place for our children and grandchildren to want to live and work.”
The conference, which is in its 5th consecutive year is hosted by the church’s western region and seeks to address the social ills affecting society in relation to the breakdown of the family structure and social orders.