Seymour Hutchinson: Preaching the Gospel
HIGHGATE, St Mary:
As curate for the St Cyprians Anglican church in Highgate, St Mary, Reverend Seymour Hutchinson is as a community-focused and popular evangelist who has been preaching the Gospel in his hometown for the past three decades.
With 47 years' experience teaching in local preparatory, primary, and high schools, Hutchinson utilises a unique fusion of academic and religious doctrines to engage the young people in his community, but fears they have become preoccupied with short-term pleasures and experiences.
He told Family and Religion: "Our young people are challenged by peer pressure. They do not think about giving themselves totally to the gospel. They want something that will lift their spirits, but not something spiritual. This is what I see happening to our youngsters."
Sadly, the former scout master and recipient of the Governor General's Achievement Award believes the situation is pretty similar for adults too.
He explained: "We are seeking human answers for the divine problems we face as a nation. As a country, like everywhere else, we are faced with a lot of challenges, but we're using all our human efforts to find solutions to these social, physical and financial problems. If we do that, we're going to fail.
"We should put God in all things we do because He is the one who gives us the strength we need. We can't leave Him out, but we use Him as a last resort in many cases," Seymour told Family and Religion.
He added: "It is when everything else has failed that we come to Him, but [as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33] 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all other things shall be added unto you.'"
Hutchinson joined the church through a supplementary ministry programme, which enabled him the flexibility to do the two things he loves most of all: teaching and preaching.
He said: "Ministry and teaching go hand in hand because you are offering yourself in order to proclaim the word of God to people in the community, which is needed now more than ever.
"I saw [teaching] as a vocation. I love to work with the youths, have a passion for evangelism, and thought I would enter the programme in order to make myself more available in the proclamation of the word of God.
"You have to have the passion and inner spiritual being to want to project that, and it is done by words and deeds, it can't be words only."
Looking ahead, Hutchinson, who chairs the St Cyprians Basic School in Highgate, believes deeper community links and sports programmes targeting young people must be developed, if the church is to attract new followers.
He explained: "The church has to do more to engage with communities and reach out to people. The church cannot only be inside a building. As church leaders, we need to walk through our communities and have dialogue with people so we can project God's kingdom, and I don't think we are doing that.
"We need to do more because people are losing hope and walking away from everything that is religious. Romans 1:16 tells you what is happening. People can read it for themselves, but it is a very big issue."