Jamaica needs to ‘get back to basics’ - Evangelist Errol Rattray
THE FAMILY has drifted apart and is influenced by societal values, according to Evangelist Errol Rattray, executive chairman of Hands Across Jamaica for Righteousness.
Rattray said that gone are the days when there was respect for the elderly and children grew up with principles.
In an interview with Family and Religion, he addressed the breakdown in the Jamaican society, with murders on the rise, the abuse of children and the moral decline of the country.
"Parents need to be friends with their children, but unfortunately many of these children are what we call barrel children," he said. According to Rattray, they get gifts and other things from overseas, but lack the presence of a family to guide them.
"Some of the parents who should be guiding their children are children themselves. They didn't even get proper training, so there is a big breakdown in the generation coming up," he said.
For the evangelist, the solution in seizing back this generation is going "back to basics".
"The Bible is man's manual on how to live. Parents need to get back to basics in sending their children to Sunday or Sabbath schools. If they follow the teachings, they will be kind, caring and less aggressive," he suggests.
For him, the time has now come for parents to reclaim their children.
Drawing on his experience as a former Youth For Christ director, Rattray said young people need three things, and it's up to the Church, parents and the wider society on a whole to give it to them.
"Young people want to feel belonged, they wanted to be loved and they want adventure."
Rattray, who started his ministry in 1989 working full-time with Youth For Christ, later formed the Errol Rattray Evangelistic Association in 2000 - a ministry which addresses the spiritual and moral issues challenging Jamaica, the Caribbean, Africa and places where there are large pockets of Caribbean descendants. The ministry focuses on communicating life-changing messages through crusades (locally and overseas), prayer ministry, training seminars, conferences, special projects and media ministry.
He said the Church is doing a lot in maintaining the moral and spiritual values of the country.
"The Church has been making a serious effort, but unlike the prime minister who has the Jamaica Information Service, our work goes unheralded," he said.