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Michael Dunbar: Concerned about the rise in secularism among children

Published:Saturday | February 20, 2016 | 2:00 AMOrantes Moore
Michael Dunbar of the Church of Christ, Harmony Hall, St Mary.

HIGHGATE, St Mary:

Michael Dunbar of the Church of Christ is an international minister who was born in Trinidad, raised in St Vincent, and has lived in Highgate, St Mary, with his Jamaican wife and children for the last four years.

After travelling to Jamaica in 1980, Dunbar studied theology and took a number of ministerial posts, including a 17-year stint at the Church of Christ in Mona. Almost four decades later, he leads the congregation at the Church of Christ in Harmony Hall, near Highgate, and is grateful for his many years spent serving the Lord.

Surprisingly, he refuses to condemn young people of today who complain that Jamaica does not offer them enough career and job opportunities. "It all depends on what type of opportunity you're talking about," he explains, "because the simple truth is, some people don't want to get involved in ministry.

"But if you want to get involved in ministry, there are always opportunities to serve. The Bible says '... the harvest indeed is plenteous, but the labourers are few (Matthew 9:37)'".

Dunbar is nonetheless, concerned by an apparent rise in secularism among children, teenagers, and young adults. He explained: "I've been living in Highgate, St Mary, for the past four years and believe the biggest problem for local people is that too few of their children show any interest in religion.

"It's a complex issue and I don't think there is any one answer, but I understand the reason many of our boys, especially the young ones, are shying away from church. It's because their fathers are not going. I have found that where fathers are committed to the Lord, the boys, and whole family are committed. So I think it's a father issue.

"It's something I've been thinking about; how do we help men to be better fathers, but to be honest, I don't think I have the answer for that. I've been trying to think how we can get more fathers involved in the church. But I don't know.

"I think right now, the only thing we can do is really pray and ask for some divine intervention because, again, it's not that we are not reaching out, churches organise all kinds of programme, but the men are obviously shying away. I think we are more inclined to live after the flesh, instead of living after the spirit.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com