Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
BRYANS BAY, Portland:
REGARDED BY members as a man on a mission, Pastor Thomas White has established close ties with residents of Boundbrook district, where he leads the congregation at the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
White, who has responsibility for five churches - Boundbrook, Rock Hall, Snow Hill, Saint Margaret's Bay, and Mountain Pleasant - is convinced that the task ahead to provide much-needed assistance to residents is challenging because the needs are great.
"Our focus is to assist residents, especially those in dire need. Members of the community-service team have been going out into various communities in and around Port Antonio providing warm meals to the needy and the indigent," White disclosed. "The idea is to develop a good relationship with the community in which we operate."
Apart from handing out warm meals on a selected day, the church group also hands out rations, including rice, peas, beans, and cooking oil.
Rejuvenated church members, including Elder Kevin Loban, have commended the pastor for what he termed as forward thinking, which has created avenues through which residents and church members can socialise better and strengthen relationships.
"Community outreach is paramount. Under the guidance of Pastor White, the Boundbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church is impacting positively on the lives of many residents as the church seeks not only to strengthen its membership, but also to feed the poor and assist students," said Loban.
"Our evening classes have provided many persons a second chance at educating themselves, and although that initiative was not started by Pastor White, he has supported it wholeheartedly. As a result, we have had passes in English, mathematics, human and social biology, and principles of business," Loban added.
While White's calling is to preach the Word, he cherishes the opportunity to offer counselling to community residents free of cost. The counselling sessions often include addressing marital problems, pregnancy, persons fallen from grace, domestic disputes, and advising young converts about dating.
Under White's watch, deacons have volunteered to cut the lawns of an elderly woman, an amputee, in the community of Rice Piece. The deaconry, which was once headed by Ronald Miller, can be seen on the first Sunday of each month with machetes and weed whackers cutting away bushes in the yard of the elderly female.
Noted White: "With this kind of community spirit, we get support from residents. And given time, the communities will fully embrace the teachings of the Church, and they will become a part of our day-to-day activities."