Jamaica Gleaner / SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:
Churches in Spanish Town have intensified their support for mass evangelism in the streets of violence-prone communities.
“The Church will no longer be held between the four walls, the Church will be moving out on a Sunday morning to meet the people in these communities, because we have come to the conclusion that this needs to be done,” said Bishop Rowan Edwards, convenor of the 10,000 Men March.
“Apart from crusades and street meetings, let us take a full service to these communities on a Sunday morning,” Edwards told Family and Religion .
Using the example of the annual 10,000 Men March, he declared that this kind of mass spiritual outreach, in addition to other intervention by the churches, is proving to change lives, reduce murders and violent crimes while bringing peace to some violence-prone communities in Spanish Town.
“A lot of persons have been saved, persons have rethought their stance on crime after they attended the march,” stated Edwards, clearly at odds with the position taken by former chairman of the Spanish Town Minister’s Fraternal, Pastor Terrence Williams-Brown, who suggested in a recent Family and Religion feature that “Church leaders in Spanish Town are not doing enough to help with crime reduction”.
PUT AN END TO CRIME
“After the march, the churches usually splintered into the communities with men’s groups from different churches, engaging different groups, giving out thousands of flyers and placards imploring people to put an end to murder, crime and violence and accept Christ,” he continued.
“We have met with some of the main players who are crime producers, we have gone to their houses, we have had meetings with them, we prayed with them and some have accepted Christ,” the firebrand bishop who often used images to highlight the effects of crime and violence on communities in Spanish Town disclosed.
He intimated that a 12 per cent reduction in crime recorded in St Catherine last year is as a result of the relentless efforts of the churches in pushing spiritual intervention.
“Eighty-five per cent of the homes are without a male figure, and this has contributed to a lot of the young men in these homes being out of control because they have no male figure to emulate,” noted Edwards.
“The Spanish Town Minister’s Fraternal has taken on the communities through intervention, such as training through a mentoring programme that has reached some 165 young men,” he revealed.
According to him, the 10,000 Men March this year is a rallying cry of all the churches against the spirits of murder and gun violence, and will continue to seek God presence to come up against these spirits.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Spanish Town Ministers Fraternal, Pastor Junior Headlam, supported the renewed push for mass evangelism, noting that lives have been transformed as a result.
“While the Church has not been involved in measuring crime reduction, we have always been involved in how we can transform lives, let the police do the counting, we are here to transform lives,” he told Family and Religion .
“I feel that our intervention not only at the 10,000 Men March, but even as the Church go out into the communities and set up their own street meetings, and pastors meet with people in their offices to remedy domestic problems which happened a great deal, all this is contributing to crime reduction,” he said.