Disharmony is the biggest problem facing the Church
LUCKY HILL, St Mary:
According to the administrative bishop of the True Missionary Church of God Missionaries (TMCoGM) Samuel Blackwood, disharmony is the biggest religious problem currently facing the people of Jamaica.
TMCoGM is based in Lucky Hill,
St Mary, but has additional churches in Clarendon, St Elizabeth, and Canada. As the organisation expands, however, Blackwood has found that his passion for "helping people find their true purpose" is often frustrated by inter-denominational challenges.
The amiable pastor told Family and Religion: "A lot of us are very religious but not spiritual. Because of that, you will find there is a division among churches because of religious beliefs, so if we can really tap into the oneness, Jamaica will be a better place. If the denominations come together and forget about our doctrines and just represent Jesus Christ, then we will have done much for our country.
PEOPLE WANT TO BE RIGHT
"The problem is that religion speaks to searching, and most of the time, everybody wants to be right. People say: 'You're supposed to do this or be baptised like that,' but in my opinion, in the eyes of Lord, He sees us as one.
"How we can we fix that problem? Through prayer, more communication, and there has to be a coming together. If we can do that, and share with each other on the same platform, we can get the job done, but it's not something that can be done overnight."
He added: "One of my favourite scriptures is Philippians 4:8, which speaks to whether things are true, honest, just, lovely, virtuous, or praiseworthy. I really believe the war we're fighting is a mental one, so if we think pure and honest, we would have gone a long way in making Jamaica a better place."
In recent months, the nation has been shocked and appalled by the accusations of child molestation made against religious leaders up and down the country, including an elder from the Haywood Hall Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Whitehall, St Mary, Narry Hudson.
Blackwood said: "It's a very unfortunate situation that we find in the Church because as you know, as clergymen and leaders, we are expected to be an example. I can understand the hurt people are feeling, but we have to also encourage those of us who are still standing to firstly condemn the behaviour of the individuals who have fallen into these positions, but we must also pray for them.
"The Bible speaks about restoring, and we have to try and restore them, but in the same breath, as a church, as a people, we must also reach out to the victims and their families because they are broken, while praying for the ones who are in trouble and allow the law to take its course."