Church going all out to rescue youth from evil forces, end gun crimes
Candlelight vigil attendees were in a somber mood as they backed the home where two neighbours were gunned down three Sundays ago.
The government may have called on churches to pray for this nation, but the church leaders in the parish of St. Philip are going a step further to put programmes in place to capture the young people and keep them away from destruction and firearms.
Making this promise, on behalf of the newly formed Churches Together St. Philip group, Bishop Mark Payne of the Church of God Prophecy told the more than a hundred persons from across the parish gathered at Rices Methodist Church, "An all-out effort must be made to rescue our children and youth from the destructive forces of evil which seeks to destroy our future nation builders."
Acknowledging that the island has been "shaken" by 20 homicides since January 2019, including the death of fellow parish residents Jamal Mayers and Betty Mayers which "was violent" and left a traumatic impact on the entire community, he said, "the pastors, ministers and churches of our parish have intentionally decided that there must be an urgent response to the crisis we are experiencing and a clarion call to help rescue the youth, especially the young men of our communities and our nation."
With their new unified approach to tackling this scourge, he further asserted, "In unison Churches Together St. Philip through this vigil hereby takes a stand against gun violence and other gun-related crimes being seen across our nation.
"We take a stand against the criminal activities that are causing the untimely and violent death of our young men."
And putting their words to actions, he pledged that the churches will look to offer positive alternatives to the youth, especially those who are idle. The Bishop declared:
"Government has responded by calling for national prayer. We Churches Together St. Philip laud that response but tonight we make a declaration. In addition to praying we will endeavour to go a step further to intentionally pursue a range of activities, events, and programmes, implementing measures to positively and practically impact our youth thereby turning them away from the path along which the forces of evil are careening them!"
Persuaded that "only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the life transforming power to permanently change and transform the lives of our children and young people", the church elder went on to assert, "As the people of God we take a stand against the myriad activities and schemes of the enemy who is seeking to steal, kill and destroy our young people."
The St. Philip Member of Parliament Indar Weir was also in attendance at the vigil and he commended the churches for stepping up to the plate.