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Church leads the change - Tries to get more help to improve August Town

Published:Saturday | January 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM


It is often said by many that the Church is not doing much to assist in the development of some communities, especially communities located in volatile areas.

However, one congregation has forced several persons to eat their words.

The Haven of Hope Open Bible Church at 37 August Town Road in St Andrew has been doing a number of things aimed at helping to fix societal ills affecting the community of August Town.

Pastor for that congregation, Reverend Ezekiel Curtis, said his church works as a member of the fraternity in that area and seeks to entertain dialogue between rivalling factions in the area in an effort to maintain peace among them.

The church is also involved in social activities that are important to building the community.

"As a local church itself, we have purchased a building where we are engaged in holistic programmes. We operate two homework programmes for children up to grade four and for children preparing for the Grade Six Achievement Test. We also operate an evening institute where we help young people and adults preparing to do CSEC exams," explained Curtis.

Many good programmes

The reverend pointed out that a literacy class and a computer programme at the church were among the many good things his congregation was involved with.

But it was also important for the pastor to point out that what his church was doing at the moment was also supported by institutions such as the University of the West Indies, which is behind the church's computer programme; United Way of Jamaica, which sponsors its homework programme; as well as the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology, which helps with the church's counselling programme.

US Embassy help

Curtis said payment for teachers who assist in preparing individuals for CSEC exams was taken care of by the United States Embassy in St Andrew.

According to the reverend, the assistance received from the various organisations and from members of his church had helped to shape the lives of many residents in the August Town area.

Curtis said residents in the August Town community had been responding well to the efforts being made by his church and said he wished there were more facilities available at the church to accommodate more persons.

He explained that the Haven of Hope Open Bible Church had lands available for expansion and was hoping that some donor agencies interested in community transformation would come on board to give a helping hand.

"The vision statement of the Haven of Hope Open Bible Church is to make a difference through committed service," said Curtis.

- George Henry