Sun | Oct 1, 2023

St Leonard Baptist Church adding education to its offerings

Published:Sunday | June 4, 2023 | 12:07 AMAlbert Ferguson - Gleaner Writer


The St Leonard Baptist Church, based in Westmoreland, is poised to add education to its outreach programmes as it seeks to educate the youngsters in that community, especially in reading comprehension and literacy abilities.

Speaking with Family and Religion, Reverend Vanesa Burnett-Logan, pastor of the church, who was ordained in the Jamaica Baptist Union of Churches in 2020, asserted that there is an urgent need for a multipurpose structure throughwhich the church can contribute to ensuring that the children are literate and capable of functioning in various facets of life.

The St Leonard Baptist Church is part of a circuit of churches known as the St Leonard Circuit of Churches. It also features the Dundee Baptist Church and the Orange Hill Baptist Church, which is located on the border of St James and Westmoreland.

According to Burnett-Logan, the church, which is already working with youngsters, needs to expand into a more suitable setting, possibly in the form of a multifunctional building, to better facilitate youngsters who are in need of help with reading comprehension and literacy abilities.

“When I came here, we started a children’s ministry, and from that, we recognised that a lot of our children are not able to read,” said Burnett-Logan, who noted that the church immediately intervened by providing Saturday evening programmes where they have been interacting with youngsters and their parents.

According to Burnett-Logan, a survey was conducted among the parents and members of the wider community, and it was discovered that many were weak in reading and comprehension. Those who needed help were encouraged not to feel embarrassed or bashful but to take the opportunity to improve themselves.

Two years ago, the church initiated a Jerk Chicken Competition to raise money for the construction of the multipurpose centre, and plans are afoot to stage other fundraising projects.

“We are looking forward to our groundbreaking project for the multipurpose church hall. We are hoping to do that sometime before the end of this year,” said Burnett-Logan. “What we have decided is that as soon as we accumulate $1 million, we will do the groundbreaking, and we are not very far from that, so this is why I say it will happen this year,” she said.