Green: More churches should use facilities for skills training
Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, has expressed concern about the number of churches that have been willing to make their buildings available for skills training.
Green, while speaking at the recent International Safeguarding Children Conference, indicated that since the Government's call for churches to open their doors for skills training, some have been kind in making their facilities available, but more collaboration is needed.
"From the youth side of the portfolio, we have been trying to convince the churches that their buildings would be the ideal location for skills training, and some have taken it on in a real way. It makes no sense that you have such wonderful buildings that are closed," said Green.
"I have always said that the best way to reconnect with youth is to have them come to you for something purposeful. We have wonderful churches that are wonderfully located, so through the HEART Trust/NTA, we are trying to engage the churches to use their space," he continued.
Jayson Downer, president of Men of God Against Violence and Abuse, was in attendance at the conference.
Too many idle lands
"Quite frankly, I am not pleased with how the Church has responded where that is concerned," he told The Gleaner. "I am a part of the clergy, but the Church needs to come together where that is concerned. Too many idle lands, too many idle buildings. That is a sore point that needs to be addressed aggressively," he said.
Merlyn Hyde Riley, president of the Jamaica Council of Churches, however, shared a different view, indicating that many churches have, in fact, done a lot in the area of skills training and have been cooperative in making their spaces available.
"That sounds a little odd to me because a lot of churches have been utilising their buildings for skills training. I am not sure what his method is in terms of asking churches to come on board.
"I am Baptist, but I am also a part of the Jamaica Council of Churches, and I know for a fact that churches have skills training components as part of their ministry and are usually very open to that kind of thing," Riley told The Gleaner.