Hundreds of members from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, along with onlookers and passersby, gathered in Sam Sharpe Square Montego Bay on Sabbath December 30 2017, to pray for the parish of St. James which recorded over 330 murders in 2017.
The programme organized by the church, was loathed with prayer and songs of praise, and featured a timely message from renowned International Tele-evangelist and President of the West Jamaica Conference, Pastor Glen O Samuels.
Samuels pointed to the lack of responsible parenting as the primary source of crime and violence in St. James.
“We must become more responsible as parents,” said the poignant speaker. “The root of the problem could well be traced to the break down of the homes in our city and in our country. There are too many irresponsible fathers, too many irresponsible mothers and I have brought just one message to my city, as we mourn the loss of 330 lives and counting, we must endeavour, each of us to state clearly and definitely without any equivocation, I am my brother’s keeper!”
In addition to parents playing a more integral role in their Children’s development, Samuels’ plea to the city also challenged other adults present, to transmit wholesome values to the youth they encounter daily while holding them accountable for their actions.
“The truth is we have lost a generation because we have not been good stewards of wholesome family values. We have lost a generation because we have become a people overwhelmed by greed. How then can we fix the problem? We can’t fix it by merely pointing fingers at someone else. We must ask ourselves the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper.”
Judith McFarlane, a member of the Harrison SDA Church who was at the mass gathering, was pleased with the Church’s decision to venture out of the confines of the church building, to make vocal its thoughts on echoing messages of peace to a society drowning in violence.
“Today, the Church’s presence in Sam Sharpe Square is indicating that we are vocal on what is happening in our society, we are not turning a blind eye to crime and violence,” she said.
“Crime fighting is everybody’s business” she expressed resolutely. “This responsibility starts in the home. If we inculcate these values from home, children will avoid evil and turn their backs against wrong. I do agree with Pastor Samuels’ statement, parents need to be more involved in their children’s lives and teach them how to value life,” she ended.
The gathering in Sam Sharpe Square brought to an end the four day celebration of the Church’s annual Camp Meeting held between December 27 and 30, 2017, and saw in attendance members of the uniformed Pathfinder’s Group. The programme lasted for approximately ninety minutes.