Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen is calling on the Church to conduct a Ministry of healing for persons and especially children with physical wounds and emotional scars inflicted by egregious acts of violence and abuse committed against them. He said far too many children have been marred, brutalized and scarred, that it is only through the grace of God that they will ever be able to break free from the shackles that bind them.
He was speaking at the 75th Anniversary and celebratory Convention of the Assemblies of God in Jamaica which was held in Montego Bay on Wednesday (May 23) under the theme, Repositioning the Church in a Changing World.
“Our generation has seen some of the most egregious acts of violence and abuse committed against each other, especially our children who are supposed to be trained up in ways that they will not depart from when they are old. The church has to reposition itself not only in the preaching of the gospel, but to offer the ministry of healing to persons with physical wounds, and emotional scars which are not visible except when people ‘act out’ their pain,” the Governor-General said. Over 7,000 children have been reportedly sexually abused in Jamaica over the last four years.
Sir Patrick Allen also cautioned against the criticism and condemnation of victims and perpetrators of abuse. “We have to be careful how we criticize and condemn anyone, victims and perpetrators, because we do not know their journey or how deep the wounds they bear. We do not know which upstanding person in society or in the Church that led them into the path they are on,” he said. He added that the Church should provide ministry and show compassion.
Sir Patrick Allen also noted the unscrupulous use of interventions in information and communication technology that were intended to make life easier. “Some awful things are happening in our world and on our doorsteps. Individuals are using the same inventions and knowledge which were intended to do good, to do evil. Daily we hear of people being scammed out of their hard earned money,” the Governor-General said.
He said the fiftieth Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence is a time for rebirth, renewal and restoration, and that institutions such as homes and schools should use this opportunity to reposition themselves for service during the next fifty years, with the Churches at the forefront and centre of the leadership Jamaica receives. He also said that taking into consideration the present realities, the message of the Church should be presented in a way that it can reach everyone.
“The Church must change its tune for a world that needs your lyric but has stopped listening to your music. We need to address our message in a way that it can reach everybody. We need to recognise the times, tailoring our language, form, and outreach to match what we see.”
Other speakers at the Convention included Rev. Veron Kinkead, former General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God and current General Superintendent Rev. Conrad H. Pitkin, who delivered the keynote address.
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