St Mary churches seek to heal the land
HIGHGATE, St Mary:
The Bethel United Church in Highgate, St Mary, was one of four churches in the parish to recently take part in the nation's 17th annual 'Healing the Land Prayer Conference', which ran under the theme 'Resetting our Generation, Resetting the Nation'.
According to host minister, The Reverend Leo Hall, the event was both fitting and timely as the Church has come under fire in the last few days, and Jamaica is undeniably in a state of turmoil.
Speaking after the event, he told Family and Religion: "This evening was about putting on a united front as a church through Prayer 2000, which has been organising prayer meetings across the country at the begging of each year for the past 17 years.
"Today was about seeking to create a spiritual atmosphere for the nation, and it was appropriate because there are a number of things happening in the news that we needed to respond to. As a church, based on some of the negative things that are happening, we also need to repent, and say that we are countering the criminal activity happening around us because it's not just happening in western Jamaica and in the urban centres. It's happening right here in St Mary.
"Overall, I think it went well. I'm still disappointed that we didn't have an overflow, but we had people who came out and were willing to pray, people who were committed to the cause of praying for the nation, and it was good just for us to be worshipping God, which is also critical."
Hall feels humiliated by this week's revelation that a Manchester-based Moravian minister has been accused of sexually abusing an underage girl, but believes the issue can only be dealt with through acknowledgement and candour.
He said: "It's embarrassing and we cannot avoid that; it's a reality. But we have to let the families of the victims know that as a church, it's wrong and we do not condone it, if what has been alleged is so. We are in support of the family and want to offer the necessary support possible in terms of things like counselling to help bring healing and restoration.
"But as for the person who is alleged to have been involved, we want to know that we are not and cannot abandon him, no matter what. We have to show him grace, which is the unmerited favour of God, even though he doesn't deserve it. We are willing to journey with him to the very end because he is a part of us and we want it to remain as such."
Hall added: "We have to restore certain critical values so that people can know what righteousness is again because the morality of Jamaica has declined so much. The word of God declares that righteousness exalts the nation and sin is a reproach. We can't continue to endorse a spirit of sin and keep saying everything that is sinful is good.
"It's all about restoration, even though some people will quake and get upset and angry because they are embracing cultures that are sinful, believing that it is good. But we are saying 'No', we need to reset, go back to basics, and bring righteousness to the nation, and that's what this evening was all about."