St Andrew Parish Church urges new approach to inner city in 350th year
Gearing up for its 350th anniversary celebrations next month, officials of the St Andrew Parish Church are calling for stakeholders to do more to accommodate inner-city communities in order for Jamaica to achieve its goals for Vision 2030.
George Briggs, chairman of the church's outreach foundation, said religious institutions must be more instrumental in taking an enterprise approach in assisting the less fortunate instead of merely providing handouts.
Briggs was speaking with The Gleaner following a press conference held on the church grounds on Tuesday to promote the foundation's funding drive, which is expected to raise J$350 million to enhance its outreach organisation.
He said caring for the less fortunate should be seen as a matter of urgency.
"It cannot be a matter of welfare anymore. This has to be about enabling people to help themselves. There must be an enterprise approach to transforming communities. It's not just a matter of preaching about it, but it's about getting down on the ground, getting dirty and doing things," he declared.
"All of our programmes deal with human development because we believe that it's very important. The church has a role to play and, unfortunately, the church has been on retreat in so many areas but the time has come for us to step up to the plate and, as a church, we are determined to re-establish ourselves in community development," he said.
Briggs added: "As a church with such a rich historic background, we are committed to doing our part and taking on new challenges and that's what this initiative is all about."
Dr Henley Morgan, chairman emeritus of the Agency for Inner-city Renewal, who was guest speaker at the event, said work must be done to enhance productivity within the inner city.
"The pain of the inner city continues to plague us as a country. The church must minister in the same manner that Jesus did. All of us will have to pass an interview when we get into Heaven, and a huge part of that will be how we treat those who are less fortunate," Morgan declared.
"Jamaica will not be saved by an economist model or the International Monetary Fund, because the heart of the problem is of the heart and we must address those issues before anything else can be tackled," he said.