Church steps in to ease vi­o­lence

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News - An­toinette Con­nell

by an­toinet­te­con­nell@na­tionnews.com

In the ter­ri­fy­ing af­ter­math of re­cent shoot­ings in St Lucy, some church lead­ers there are mov­ing to quell fur­ther vi­o­lence in the northern par­ish.

One priest has made bold to say that the church must now go to the no­to­ri­ous blocks while an­other min­is­ter has or­gan­ised for po­lice to visit with res­i­dents on how to safe­guard them­selves against the crim­i­nals.

“We have to find some way to reach them [crim­i­nals]. A lot of them still have re­spect for the priest and I guest the church will have to get on the block, go among them. If they are not com­ing to us, we may have to go to them. Some of them just need a lit­tle help,” said Rev­erend Canon Cur­tis Goodridge of the St Lucy Par­ish Church.

Goodridge and Min­is­ter Mar­cus Hinds of the Bethel Pen­te­costal Church which has two branches as well as some other church lead­ers in the par­ish have been in con­tact and dis­cussing how to re­store calm and peace to the area. While there have been no firm united plans Hinds has or­gan­ised the meet­ing with po­lice and res­i­dents for Sun­day at his church in Greenidges on crime pre­ven­tion. The Crab Hill area was rocked by and at times af­fected by shoot­ings, one of which ended in the death of Crab Hill res­i­dent Dex­ter Lash­ley on Septem­ber 30.

How­ever, Hinds fears that while res­i­dents re­main tight-lipped, preach­ers will be­come tar­gets for speak­ing up and against the vi­o­lent peo­ple.

“We may not be able to speak out much be­cause they will tar­get us as preach­ers. The Bi­ble says that in the last days men’s hearts may fail for fear. I will preach it be­cause God said that he will not leave us,” Hinds stated.

The min­is­ter of 52 years and who has lived most his life, in St Lucy said res­i­dents had less re­spect for them­selves and did not value life, death or the law.

“In my 78 years I’ve never seen St Lucy in this state and all be­cause peo­ple have lost re­spect for life,” he said.

Reached out

That state of af­fairs has prompted him to reach out to his church peers across the par­ish and, Hinds said, along with pray­ing, the mem­bers of the church must also do work to re­verse the sit­u­a­tion.

Goodridge, who has been as­signed to the par­ish church for 33 years, ac­knowl­edged that Hinds had reached out to him about the dis­in­te­grat­ing fab­ric of the so­ci­ety, the signs of which he no­ticed about 15 years ago. He linked the de­cline to the drug trade and the slack­ing off of church at­ten­dance by chil­dren.

“We have been talk­ing about com­ing to­gether to see what we can do for the par­ish, even hav­ing spot ser­vices for cer­tain dis­tricts . . . . All

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