'Church needs to do more for young people'
TOWER ISLE, St Mary:
As one of the youngest religious leaders operating in the parish of St Mary, Pastor Renford Bailey has a slightly different outlook compared to some of his contemporaries.
Bailey, 33, believes the Church should do more to help young people get jobs and skills training, and is concerned that most pastors appear more comfortable preaching to their congregations than helping them improve their lives.
Speaking earlier this week from his headquarters at the Transformation Deliverance Worship Centre in Tower Isle, Bailey told Family and Religion: "One of the biggest religious issues facing the parish right now is about how the word has been given.
"Some people think if you're all spirit, everything else will work out, but I think that's an issue because Jesus Christ didn't demonstrate that. He showed that the Word is important, but so is the physical.
How can you have members in church who, for years, want a job and to excel, and not help them? How can God sort these things out unless people are encouraged to write rÈsumÈs and get qualified? So now we find there are [pastors] preaching, but not giving people a way out of their problems, and I think that is the biggest blunder that some of our churches make.
Similarly, Bailey, who hails from Heywood Hall, just outside St Mary's capital, Port Maria, insists that the church should be offering financial support to young people who want to develop themselves.
He explained: "Another issue is that the Church has not invested in a lot of young people, but I think this can be easily addressed. Some ministers get paid by The Church, and I think those who do should establish a trust fund in regards to youth development.
"This fund could help alleviate the 'poor' mentality in St Mary because I have seen too many idle children and believe it is the church's job to ensure that they find a haven or create a space that will help enhance their lives, so that they can in turn will help the Church.
"I believe investment is the key because if you don't invest in the young people, what you will find is that those same youth are the ones who will end up causing you the most problems."
PROPER OUTREACH NEEDED
Bailey is also frustrated that the parish's Ministers' Fraternal organisation has failed to establish a comprehensive outreach programme.
He said: "I come to church, not just to preach, but to help with community development, counselling, and finding jobs for young people. I don't just talk, I try to do, and this is where the Ministers' Fraternal needs to ensure that they come up with a strategy. I think it's somehow dormant in this sense because, over the years, they just plan spiritual things."