Bethel New Testament's light shines in 'face of change' competition
For members of the Bethel New Testament Church of God, assisting the less fortunate is a top priority.
Driven by a passion for voluntarism, 33-year-old Geraud Brown, who is the pastor of the church, along with his congregants, have reached out to the needy and touched many lives in the surrounding communities near the Rousseau Road, Kingston, headquarters of the church.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed and last week it earned them the first-place position in the Digicel Foundation's 'Face of Change' competition.
The competition celebrates and rewards the work of grass-roots community organisations and is endorsed by the governor general's 'I Believe Initiative'.
Brown collected the first-place award yesterday from Ambassador Burchell Whiteman, representing Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, who was unable to attend the event which was held at King's House.
The dispossessed from a number of communities near the church find well-needed assistance from Bethel New Testament, which carries out a feeding programme for both members of their congregation and the less fortunate. The programme receives support from Food For The Poor.
Free classes at the church for students preparing for the Grade Six Achievement Test have resulted in improved grades for participants.
"We have a very small computer laboratory courtesy of Jamaica Social Investment Fund and we used that lab to serve that community. Students who have SBA (school-based assessment) can come. We have started to fill out passport applications online," said Brown.
In addition, Brown said that in carrying out its general mandate, the church prays for and counsels many persons who have reached out for this kind of support.
Highlighting the church's vision going forward, Brown said his organisation was considering building a resource centre.
"One of the main things we want to do is to expand our computer lab and fit it with an e-library. We want to offer a wider range of services to the entire community."