St Mary Adventists reach out to the com­mu­nity

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Orantes Moore Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

AC­CORD­ING TO Eph­e­sians 4:32, we should: “... be kind to an­other, ten­der-hearted, for­giv­ing one an­other, even as God for Christ’s sake has for­given you”, and con­se­quently, every year, the Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist (SDA) Church hosts a se­ries of events en­ti­tled ‘Week of Gen­eros­ity and Day of Kind­ness.’

Ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary and treasurer at the North-East Ja­maica Con­fer­ence of Sev­enth-day Adventists Pas­tor Ad­lai Blythe be­lieves the event of­fers the church an op­por­tu­nity to lead by ex­am­ple in the field of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

He told Fam­ily and Re­li­gion, “The Week of Gen­eros­ity and Day of Kind­ness was started by the [SDA] World Church, who saw the need to have one day of spe­cial com­mu­nity im­pact, where we go be­yond the reg­u­lar kind ges­tures we do and of­fer some­thing sig­nif­i­cant.

“It’s a part of a na­tional ini­tia­tive to ad­min­is­ter to the so­cial needs of the com­mu­nity in a more sig­nif­i­cant way be­cause the SDA church is not just about the spir­i­tual; we cater for all needs, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion and health.

“Sep­a­rate and apart from the usual out­reach that we do on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, we have an annual day of kind­ness for our ma­jor

projects, where we iden­tify needs in our com­mu­ni­ties and min­is­ter to those needs on a much broader scale than we nor­mally do.

POS­I­TIVE IN­FLU­ENCE

“Each year, we iden­tify a project. Last year, we helped ren­o­vate po­lice sta­tions across the is­land, and the year be­fore that, we did the in­fir­maries in Port­land and St Mary. This year, we de­liv­ered an out­reach project tar­get­ing the com­mu­nity of An­notto Bay in St Mary, along­side the Min­istry of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity, the Na­tional Hous­ing Trust, the po­lice, and a team of med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers.”

Hav­ing spent time min­is­ter­ing in An­notto Bay, Blythe is well aware of the pos­i­tive in­flu­ence the SDA’s pro­gramme can have on one of the most un­der­de­vel­oped towns in the par­ish. He ex­plained: “We chose An­notto Bay be­cause I served there as pas­tor and know there are a lot of low and no-in­come fam­i­lies that need as­sis­tance, so we used the op­por­tu­nity to reach out to them.

“It turned out to be a re­ally good day be­cause we pro­vided heath checks for about 100 peo­ple, food for 300, and got to sen­si­tise the com­mu­nity about the ben­e­fits of things like the Na­tional In­sur­ance Scheme and the Na­tional Hous­ing Trust.”

Look­ing ahead, Blythe is pre­par­ing for more projects through­out St Mary in the com­ing weeks, in­clud­ing an­other mo­bile health clinic and a gospel con­cert in Robin’s Bay on Novem­ber 12.

He said: “We try to do health sem­i­nars on a monthly ba­sis and have one com­ing up in Ged­des Town on Novem­ber 5. It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion with dif­fer­ent arms of the health depart­ment, so we do checks, de­liver pam­phlets, and try to sen­si­tise the com­mu­nity about how to bet­ter care for them­selves and their en­vi­ron­ment; how to avoid con­ta­gious dis­eases; and how to use nat­u­ral reme­dies to cure mi­nor ill­nesses.”

PHOTO BY ORANTES MOORE

Ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary and treasurer at the North-East Ja­maica Con­fer­ence of Sev­enth-day Adventists Pas­tor Ad­lai Blythe.

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