Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Split among churches weakens impact on crime, says religious leader

Published:Wednesday | September 28, 2016 | 9:51 AMCorey Robinson
Leon Golding, Suffragan Bishop Montego Bay.

Some religious leaders in Montego Bay, St James, desperate to transform the lives of persons bent on wreaking mayhem in the parish, say their efforts are being stymied by division among churches.

“I speak as an Anglican. We have a mission in Mount Salem and some other communities, and we are trying to make a difference, if even in a small way,” Leon Golding, Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay, told a special investigative team from The Gleaner at the St James Parish Church yesterday.

“But I don’t think that we are doing enough. I think we are divided, and I think that if we worked together we would have a greater impact on the society,” added Golding as he made reference to the many volatile and informal communities whose residents are believed to be behind most of the 200 murders in the parish since the start of this year.

“There are elements of the Church which are trying to make a difference selflessly, not seeking anything in return. Some, I question what is behind [their actions]. I don’t think we should be doing good to gain members, but for the sake of and to help create better communities,” said Golding.

His sentiments were shared by two female members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community who braved the rash of killings over the past week, and the heavy contingents of police and soldiers, to minister to anyone willing to listen in the hotbed of Glendevon yesterday.

“The Church cannot do anything because, more or less, what they are doing is depending on themselves, and man cannot do it by themselves,” said the elderly Witness, who asked not to be named.

“They claim that they are doing it for God, but what they are saying and doing definitely has nothing to do with the truth,” continued the woman.

“If you listen what the Bible says, you cannot go wrong. It is the model for us. He taught his disciples that, in this time, we need to seek the Kingdom of God. But man is not relying on it anymore; they are relying on man-made government, that cannot work,” said the woman.

FINANCIAL WINDFALLS

In the meantime, a lifelong member of the Montego Bay community has charged that huge financial windfalls derived from the lottery scam are preventing some members of the Christian community from praying for an end to the violence in Mount Salem and across St James.

According to the woman, who declined to give her name, some Christians who describe themselves as prayer warriors are the same ones hiding millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains for relatives involved in the scam.

“You know why dem can’t pray? Because a dem have the money ... the mothers and the sisters and the aunties who a prayer warriors, a fi dem bank book the money inna,” the woman told The Gleaner.

She further alleged that proceeds from the lottery scam have also infiltrated the Church.

“So, you see when dem pray a one prayer wha no mean nothing because it not coming from dem heart ... because everything they have come from their children and nephews,” the woman insisted.

– Livern Barrett contributed to this story.