Roper: Many pas­tors not fol­low­ing best prac­tices

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Jodi-Ann Gilpin Gleaner Writer jodi-ann.gilpin@glean­erjm.com

There are peo­ple who were en­gi­neers and the spirit lick dem and they are now pas­tors. They want the full cler­i­cal re­galia ti­tle and they are not prop­erly trained.

WITH THE Church’s eth­i­cal stan­dards un­der the radar post the con­vic­tion of the Rev­erend Mer­rick ‘Al’ Miller, the Rev­erend Gar­net Roper, head of the Ja­maica The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary (JTS), said that come Jan­uary, there would be a de­gree pro­gramme in chap­laincy to strengthen pas­tors in and train them about is­sues of the law and other eth­i­cal mat­ters.

Miller was found guilty of at­tempt­ing to per­vert the course of jus­tice and sen­tenced in the Kingston and St An­drew Parish Court last Thurs­day to a fine of $1 mil­lion or 12 months in pri­son.

‘DUDUS’ FOUND IN PAS­TOR’S CAR

The pop­u­lar pas­tor was charged after drug king­pin Christo­pher ‘Dudus’ Coke was cap­tured in a ve­hi­cle he was driv­ing along the Man­dela High­way in St Cather­ine.

In an in­ter­view with The Gleaner on Tues­day, Roper in­di­cated that the JTS has al­ways pro­vided ba­sic teach­ing on is­sues of con­fi­den­tial­ity and ethics but shared that there was a need for pas­tors to be guided by bound­aries and stan­dards.

The JTS head said that there may be as many 200 con­tact hours for the course and a practicum of about 300 hours, which will lead to li­cens­ing.

“What we recog­nise is that there are many min­is­ters in­ter­fac­ing with hos­pi­tals, schools, and (is­sues sur­round­ing) law en­force­ment who are not fol­low­ing best prac­tices. This (course) will be a kind of sharp­en­ing of your skills. There are peo­ple who were en­gi­neers and the spirit lick dem and they are now pas­tors. They want the full cler­i­cal re­galia ti­tle and they are not prop­erly trained,” Roper told The Gleaner.

He added, “Ethics, em­pow­er­ing the in­di­vid­ual, ethics of duty, train­ing in con­fi­den­tial­ity are a given.

He pointed to dis­cus­sions that are cur­rently tak­ing place with po­lice com­mis­sioner Dr Carl Wil­liams to work out a pro­to­col to guide the clergy in turn­ing in wanted per­sons. He said other min­is­ters, in­clud­ing the Rev­erend Peter Garth and Bishop Alvin Bai­ley, would be host­ing a one-day con­fer­ence in Oc­to­ber to ex­am­ine the pro­to­cols and the way for­ward.

“Some things are not sus­tain­able. Presently, the pro­to­col al­lows you turn in a firearm with­out be­ing re­quired to give a state­ment as to where you got it. We have to look at that be­cause the rea­son for that is re­ally to pro­tect the con­fi­den­tial­ity of the pas­tor-client re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

GAR­NET ROPER

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