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The Church should invest more in human capital

Published:Saturday | August 20, 2016 | 12:09 AMCarl Gilchrist


More than 3,200 people benefited recently from a medical mission to Jamaica made possible by Bishop Craig Brown of New York-based Zion Care International.

A team of 60 persons, inclusive of medical and dental personnel and support staff, spent a week offering free care to residents in St James, after serving other areas of Jamaica, including St Ann and St Mary, on previous missions.

Speaking to Family and Religion in Ocho Rios recently, Brown said Zion Care International is expanding its reach to providing health-care solutions.

"We're getting involved in social programmes, community programmes, we want to be in a position to offer health-care professional clinics with resources," Brown pointed out. "A big part of our programme is also education. I think when people are educated they make better choices, so we're providing them with health education."

A major project that Zion Care International has undertaken is the adoption of the Mary Seacole wing at the Kingston Public Hospital.

"I want it (Mary Seacole wing) to be the Tony Thwaites wing of the Kingston Public Hospital," Brown stated.

"We're putting in air-conditioning units, taking out the fans, changing the windows. we are committed to give them at least 30 new beds. I want people to ask to go to this ward. I have never felt that because of your economic status you should have less."

A microwave oven and an electric kettle have been presented to the nurses' station, in the meantime.

The transformation of the ward is expected to be completed by April 2017.

Another key project has to do with the manufacturing of prosthetic limbs at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

According to Brown: "We had a group of doctors from Montessori Rehabilitation. they took down a group that has the capability to make prosthetic limbs from a 3D printer. they had a lecture at UWI and we're working very closely with Senator Mark Golding and Rory Dixon from Mona Rehab. The equipment to make the 3D limbs, we're working to have it donated to Jamaica."

Brown described the recent mission, the fifth, as successful, and expressed the wish that other churches would invest more in human capital.

"I would like to see more churches do that. we need to invest more in the human capital. When I see these huge buildings I ask myself, wouldn't the money be better spent on an early-childhood education centre? As I've always said, the spirit of the Lord is present in a tent just as a citadel, more so in a tent because God is a God of humility.

"My wish is that the churches will step away from the traditional way of trying to save souls, and not only deal with the spiritual but the physical and the emotional and the financial. We have to do all that to really get people interested in coming to church."

Brown expressed thanks, on behalf of the entire mission, to the individuals and institutions who assisted in making the mission possible.