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Adventist youth do not lack fulfilment - pastor

Published:Monday | March 28, 2016 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Pastor Dane Fletcher, director, youth and chaplaincy ministries

A lack of fulfilment, or being the odd one out, could probably come to mind when considering youths of the Seventh-day Adventist faith, as they often refrain from secular activities on the weekend.

However, Pastor Dane Fletcher, youth director for the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has indicated that, over the years, the religious organisation has created an avenue through which young people can explore their talents and have fun.

A key tenet of the Adventist church is the observation of the seventh day as a time to rest and worship.

This begins on a Friday at sunset and continues until sunset on a Saturday.

It is the norm, however, for various activities to take place during this time, including parties and sporting events, such as the recently concluded ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.

"We are aware that it is imperative that the youth population is catered to, and, though we have various activities on weekends, as a church, we do offer a holistic kind of development experience, especially through the Pathfinder programme," Fletcher told journalists during a Gleaner Editors' Forum held last week at the company's North Street, Kingston, offices.

"It's an opportunity for our young people to explore their talents through different avenues. We are also big on camps, where they are exposed to Christian grooming and manners, in addition to other important skills," he continued.

The youth pastor also pointed to an initiative titled 'HYPE - Helping Young Persons in Leadership', which is aimed at enhancing life skills, in addition to providing a platform through which participants can embrace volunteerism.

"Through this programme, we want youths to channel their leadership through sporting activities. Another critical area would be health care. We want to see how best we can reach out to persons who are unable to readily access health-care services and provide assistance. We are aware of the need to be relevant, and that is what we seek to do," he said.