Advertorial | Faithful Youth Challengers celebrates 56 years
Community members have greatly benefitted from the commitment and dedication of the youth of the Church of God (Seventh Day) on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston.
Persons have benefitted from gaining access to tertiary education, developing public speaking competencies through exposure to media interviews and expressing themselves in Youth Evening Sessions. Persons have also benefitted from participating in local and national programmes such as Challengers Bible Quiz, Summer Camps and All Island Concerts, among others.
On Saturday, May 21, 2022, starting at 9:30 am, the church's youth department, Faithful Youth Challengers (FYC), will celebrate its 56th anniversary with motivational speakers and ministry through messages and songs. The event which will take place at 58 Maxfield Avenue in Kingston 13, is open to the public. The celebratory event will be held under the theme 'Press on: You are down, not out'.
The department's anniversary is not just a celebration of their accomplishments, but the close connection between the community and the church, says President of the FYC, Shanique Shepherd.
“The area of Maxfield, for the most part, has been categorised as a volatile and perilous section of Kingston, and over the years, the youth department has worked tirelessly to bring about positive changes within the community through various initiatives including our back-to-school programme and soup kitchen” she shares.
Former president of the FYC, Conroy Meeks, says that the back-to-school programme which was re-energised in August 2010, has benefitted several individuals throughout the years.
He points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the program's continuation for the past two years. Despite this setback, the program is still expanding.
“Due to the pandemic, we had to pause our back-to-school initiative but, I remember when we started out, we had thirty-five packages to hand out and then one year we got some corporate support, and we were able to provide over 200 back-to-school packages to those in need. Each year, we continue to grow and we are happy for the support that we have been receiving,” Mr. Meeks mentions.
The Soup Kitchen called Amazing Grace, on the other hand, is a new programme that is largely supported by sponsors within the United States of America, United Kingdom, and Canada. Since the programme launch in July 2021, more than 200 members of the community have been fed warm meals bi-weekly on Wednesdays.
Other programmes by the FYC include Music Sabbath, Seminars, and Tick Tock in the Word which presents a new way of learning Theological principles that are developed in a way to address issues that impact youth, Mr. Meeks continues.
He adds that the Church is excited to be celebrating more than five decades.
He notes that “fifty-six years is a major accomplishment which signifies that the church is growing. I am pleased to know that the FYC is very much alive, and I look forward to celebrating the next 56 years with them”.
The former FYC president adds that it is imperative for the church, while it continues to grow, to create a space where youth can express themselves through innovation and creativity.
“The youth are active, creative, and innovative. If you look at the technology, companies, and innovations, you will see that they are mostly driven by youth. We must ensure that we create spaces where they can develop their capabilities and gain the skills necessary to take them beyond the church,” Mr. Meeks explains.
Even though the FYC only has 20 active members ages 17 to 37, current president, Ms. Shepherd shares “that the members of the department have a mission to effectively
challenge the youth of the Church to live an active, satisfying, and fulfilling life of faith and to present the Gospel enthusiastically, seriously, and meaningfully”.
Mr. Meeks indicates that he has seen commendable changes in the youth serving in the ministry. Over the last decade, he says, I have noticed that our youth have been excelling in education. I have also seen where our youths have become more engaged.
Member of the FYC, Philroy Houslin, said that he has been a part of the Ministry for the past four years. During those years, he notes that the Ministry has changed his life by helping him to grow closer and have a much better relationship with God.
Mr. Houslin went on to say that the praise and worship sessions are his favorite because he draws inspiration from watching and hearing young people thanking and honouring the creator in spirit and truth.
Ms. Shepherd expresses her gratitude for the ministry's more than five decades of existence.
She says that “fifty-six years is a long time, and we are truly grateful for and to the forerunners who have started this legacy for us to inherit. I look forward to working assiduously with the members of the department to further reduce violence in the community through spiritual and edifying practices”.
She further encourages youths to play their part in helping to reduce violence in the community.