Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Big help from a small church - Pastor marks 27 years of giving to the community

Published:Wednesday | August 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Uncontrolled joy is etched on the face of this little girl as she collects her bag of school supplies from Annette Rattray.
Uncontrolled joy is etched on the face of this little girl as she collects her bag of school supplies from Annette Rattray.
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ST ANN'S BAY, St Ann:

Pastor Alberta Boswell James founded the Restoration of Life Mission in Christ Apostolic Church at Jail Lane in St Ann's Bay decades ago with the mission to save souls and help others.

Over the last 27 years, she has held a back-to-school treat in August and a Christmas treat in December to benefit mostly children from communities not just in St Ann but other parishes as well.

Last weekend, the back-to-school treat, held inside a packed church, had registered 300 children to get some assistance.

That help came in the form of notebooks, schoolbags, shoes and uniforms.

It's a tall order to maintain when one considers the dwindling membership of the church.

 

CONTINUED ASSISTANCE

 

"Hopefully, the treat will continue while we can get some assistance because we also need a place for ourselves," explained Marvin Jackson, welfare director at the church.

"The rent is very hard for her and we don't have many members. I can say fewer than a dozen people come to the church and support the church from year to year, and we barely see any offering, most of them not working, most of them very elderly people. So what you see here, catering to over 300 kids, to do that with this small number of people that we have is very difficult. It would be nice if somebody could give a hand and help us to find a place. That would be good."

Jackson continued: "After 27 years, it's really hard for her because at her age, having to move around to do all this work to get the books in and not getting the support, it's kind of heart-rending for us. But we love the people, we love the community, we're doing God's work so we try to support every way we can. This is just one of the ventures to support the people in the community, so we're helping her to do that."

But to stop the treat doesn't seem like an option for Pastor Bowell James. According to her, "The parents are looking forward to this treat each year, they're expecting it, and the children too."

She expressed gratitude to all those who continue to assist her each year.