Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Moral foundation in Ja shaking, says Taylor - Baptist pastor condemns acts of injustice

Published:Friday | January 20, 2017 | 1:00 AMSyranno Baines
Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller were among the country’s leaders at the 37th National Leadership Prayer Breakfast at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, yesterday.
The Kingston College Chapel Choir performing at the 37th National Leadership Prayer Breakfast at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday.
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The Reverend Burchell Taylor, the keynote speaker at the 37th National Leadership Prayer Breakfast (NLPB), expressed great displeasure with the current acts of moral and criminal injustices taking place in the Jamaican society.

In his address to the gathering of the country's leaders yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Taylor stated that the moral and religious foundation in Jamaica is "shaking".

The Baptist pastor's message comes amid the backdrop of great public scrutiny and anger aimed at the Church and generated by the Moravian sex scandal involving 64-year-old Moravian pastor Rupert Clarke, who is charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

Taylor stated that it would take great "moral courage" to remedy this misfortune or else risk destruction.

"There can be no just society without compassion. No one should remain contented in the face of injustice. It's absolutely unacceptable, morally incorrect to use another person's suffering in a self-serving manner," said Taylor, who was the speaker at the very first NLPB in January 1981.

Taylor also spoke of forgiveness for those who greatly offend and emphasised the linkage between human dignity and justice.

 

Agents of change

 

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen voiced his concerns about the recent sequence of negatives engulfing senior members of the Church. He also used the televised platform to implore citizens to be individual agents of change.

"When anyone suffers, we all suffer, whether victim or perpetrators?" Allen said.

"Our leaders, therefore, have a most important role to play in the healing and transformation of our nation, and, I venture to say, now more than ever."

Claudette Pious, executive director of Children First, the primary beneficiary of this year's NLPB proceeds, described the feeling as one of "divine intervention".

She told The Gleaner: "Sustainability is our biggest challenge. We can't charge for the services as the persons we serve don't have the resources. We are grateful for the assistance, and we hope to use the resources, do some prevention work as it relates to gender-based violence and child-abuse prevention."

This year's NLPB was held under the theme 'God-Empowered Intervention for Transformation'.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com