Churches must mount crusade to fight crime

It is said that for every rum shop in Barbados, you will find a church close by.

Churches abound in Barbados, of every possible denomination, scattered across these 166 square miles, and one can hardly debate that these institutions have been at the bedrock of our development.

Admittedly, these days there appears to be a growing disconnect between the Church and the society, evident in the declining numbers that sit in the pews weekly or at the once sacrosanct Good Friday, Easter, or Christmas services.

Like it or not, there is also a growing rejection of the spiritual message and authority of the Church by many in society who not only tout the Church’s irrelevance but condemn its beliefs and practices.

This week, the Church came under the righteous indignation of one of its own for its failure to enlist in the fight against the upsurge in gun violence.

In an especially scathing criticism of his own denomination, outspoken Anglican cleric Reverend Charles Morris complained that despite the growing national fears over gun violence, the Anglican community had yet to meet to devise a plan to help bring calm to the society.

“Right now, the Anglican Church has its strategic plan and all it is pointing to is events. We spent an hour and a half talking about a bazaar, which, I must say, I found quite bizarre. The strategic plan does not address any of the social issues surrounding the worrisome things going on in Barbados. As a matter of fact, the Church no longer has a prophetic voice; the voice of warning is not there,” he charged.

Morris’ harsh views ring true in some respects. The Church – and not just the Anglican denomination – has an image problem it must address.

At this critical juncture in our country’s development, there is nothing wrong with some spiritual introspection, particularly if the right questions are addressed. In this case, is the Church still a place where all are welcome and can find answers to their troubles? Are congregations conscious of their duty to serve others? Is the Church the institution it needs to be in these challenging times?

For many, the Church is regarded as a safe haven, but it cannot be merely a serene meeting place for the faithful.

Indeed, the mission mandated by its founder, Jesus Christ, entails proclaiming good news to the poor, providing for the widows and orphans, comforting the brokenhearted, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, speaking out against injustices, and offering guidance for a better way of life.

But, somehow, we have gone off track. Church leaders are seemingly out of step with the everyday demands communities face.

The Church, while preaching about good moral values, is not actively engaged in the lives of people. Priests, pastors, apostles and elders have to keep abreast of the everyday challenges affecting members and especially non-members, and reach out in a meaningful way.

To better lead a flock may require the Church to follow the flock.

Of course, many churches quietly work in their communities, feeding the poor, offering classes and services to lift the spirits of many. However, these efforts must go beyond the one-off campaigns.

The experts tell us this problem of crime and violence invading our society is rooted in the failure of parents to love, care and properly instruct their charges; the evolution of gangs; a pervading culture of materialism; a failed school system, and more.

The Church can effectively help to tackle these problems by doing more than praying or simply wishing them away.

Churches can formulate more family-oriented programmes to help mothers and fathers raise well-rounded children who can make a valid contribution to the development of their country. They can devise more self-help initiatives – games, classes, etc. – to engage the youth, thus keeping them off the blocks. Churches can provide more practical lessons to foster close-knit communities that guard against the illegal drug and gun trade.

A change in the Church is in the Church’s own best interests: the greater the part of society that links itself to a Church, the stronger the Church will be in restoring the faith and hope so desperately needed today.

4 Responses to Churches must mount crusade to fight crime

  1. Diana Cave
    Diana Cave August 25, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Certainly their should .. How do you expect to win souls for God if you are not nothing to make it happen . Very few churches does it but the majority don’t .

  2. Michael Crichlow
    Michael Crichlow August 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Satan correcting sin …A simply non factor in any advanced society

  3. Rev. Canon Dr. G. Llewellyn Armstrong, Brooklyn, N.Y. August 25, 2017 at 9:14 am

    As I have stated elsewhere, the representatives of the various religious groups (Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Rastafarians, etc.) should join Christians in a concerted effort to speak with a united voice in contribution to the fight against crime in our beloved Barbados. I suggest that the Minister of Government responsible for Ecclesiastical Affairs could take the initiative of inviting these religious leaders to come together on an appointed day, in the centre of the City, to pray, and to express righteous indignation against all those who contribute, in any way, (including the importation of guns and illegal drugs) to the violent crimes in Barbados.
    Also, this same group of leaders should look at means and ways in which they can pool their resources to provide employment for the youth, and reach out to those who have left prison and need a ‘second chance’.

  4. Anthony Prescott August 25, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Perhaps the churches need to start with “The Truth”…. We need to see proper images of our Saviour, who is not blue eyed and blonde haired….Images are important. When are we going to correct the mistakes of the past.

    We are at body count 22, soo much talk and time being wasted and yet not one action to change the status quo. Legislation is only good if its going to be enforced, otherwise its just another useless piece of paper, and we have too many of them.

    The Churches need to let people know that they have to actively live a spiritual life by making small changes. Otherwise church is just like the cinema, you go in, listen and come out and do exactly the same as before you went in – a waste of time


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