Rev Nugent returns to William Knibb Baptist to hand over two houses
In an act that could be interpreted as cementing his legacy with his former congregants at William Knibb Baptist Church in Falmouth, Trelawny, the Reverend Devere Nugent, who is now based in Kingston, returned to the parish recently to hand over the keys to two houses to the welfare department of the church.
The two houses will offer temporary shelter to displaced persons until they are able to secure accommodation for themselves.
“The church has had this plot of land for quite a while and I wondered how it could be used to benefit our members,” said Nugent, in reflecting on the decision to build the two houses. “Working with Praying Pelican Ministries (an organisation out of the United States), we built these houses as part of our decision to provide social housing.”
According to Nugent, the church has a social responsibility to the community, and getting into social housing falls squarely into meeting that objective.
“It is part of what we can do to help our congregants to make their living conditions comfortable. No government will ever be able to provide all the housing solutions needed,” said Nugent.
The Reverend Karl Johnson, the general secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU), was full of praise for Nugent and his bold initiative, noting that it was yet another way for the church to impact lives.
“It is an excellent initiative. It goes to show how the church can affect people’s lives in a positive way. Those who are in need are not just members of churches but our brothers and sisters wherever they are,” noted Johnson.
Dr Karl Archer, the president of the North Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, who endorsed the social housing, urged other churches to follow Nugent’s example, noting that there are many creative ways to generate the required funding.
“People are challenged and I fully and completely support the call. We have always been involved in social housing,” said Archer. “Each year we have a Harvest In-gathering which raises funds to help in our mission for this purpose.”
Deacon Novelett Anderson, who chairs the Welfare Department at the William Knibb Baptist Church, told The Gleaner that the demand for the two houses has been great.
“From day one, there have been applications from persons in need,” said Anderson. “If we had ten such houses, there would still be people in need.”
Nugent, who served the William Knibb Baptist Church for several years, was renowned for his unflinching stance in tackling social issues in Falmouth, and for many, he was that trusted voice they could depend on to take their concerns to whatever levels they needed to go.