Adventists declare full support for special needs ministry
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica has joined the Government and other interest groups in supporting the need for special support and accommodation for the disabled with a special declaration.
The declaration, the first in the Adventist World Church, was made during a Special Needs Summit hosted recently by the Jamaica Union.
In his pronouncement, president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica, Pastor Everett Brown, emphasised the need for the church and the society to be more 'all inclusive' in supporting those with special needs.
"The way we think about each other must change. A change in how we plan, how we construct our buildings, how we structure our worship services, how we fellowship and worship, and that change must start with us, leaders of God's Church," said Brown.
He opined that the summit, held under the theme, 'A Ministry Whose Time Has Come', will be the catalyst for significant changes not only in the church, but also the wider society.
The declaration spoke to the need to foster an atmosphere of respect and protection to those with special needs and to encourage their inclusion in training, employment and membership on committees/boards.
Brown also declared that the second week of March each year will be observed as Special Needs Awareness Week, and the Second Sabbath in the month of March each year will be observed as Special Needs Awareness Day, with emphasis on persons with disabilities in all the Adventist congregations throughout Jamaica.
Figures from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica reveal that there are approximately 785,000 or 28 per cent of Jamaicans living with a form of disability.
Each delegate at the summit received a Directory of Services for persons with disabilities.