Bishop Ruel Robinson, District Overseer of the New Testament Church of God, says the church must maintain its purpose, its relevance as the moral conscience of society, and lead by example in holiness, justice and righteousness.
Addressing congregants during the Civic Session of the New Testament Church of God Montego Bay District of Churches Annual Convention held at the church’s location at 3 Water Lane on Sunday, May 21, 2023, he further charged that the church should not be caught up (in the world) and lose its identity.
“The church has taken note of several issues plaguing the country, including the surge in crime and violence, motor vehicle accidents, and barring of school devotions in some schools,” he stressed.
Bishop Robinson has identified unemployment as a major contributor to crime as it leads “our youth to become more vulnerable to the ills of society, to the gangs which leads to scamming. Our young people need more work so that they can work, raise a family and do business in our city and our nation.”
He acknowledged that the church must lead by example to exercise their faith in God, and they must practice what they preach and this includes not ‘crucifying’ political leaders with criticism but instead offering prayers to help them.
As a result, Bishop Robinson said that his church is prepared to participate in any social intervention programme led by the political leader and will take on the responsibility to rehabilitate young people in the parish.
He maintained that the church is committed to remaining available and would continue to do what the Lord would have them do, which includes evangelism in the form of establishing churches in communities that will allow individuals who did not previously attend church to do so.
Bishop Robinson said, “I am willing to sit down on behalf of the district to talk, to discuss, to make plans, to rid the city of all the ills that are affecting our leaders.”
CRIME AND MINDSET
Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, Richard Vernon, who was also in attendance, said the mindset of individuals is what has caused the crime situation in Jamaica.
He stated that he spoke with some young people and informed them that “you are not a definition of your community your community is a definition of you. Being ghetto is a mindset. Because if we move you from that area and the mindset is still the same, and we put you in another space, you will reproduce in that space, the mindset and that new space will look like the old space.”
Deputy Mayor Vernon has identified three things that have affected their mindset; firstly, it includes the broken families which are reproduced in society.
He also emphasized that when schools fail, society fails, as evidenced by the fact that, according to him, 60% of the population lacks a school leaving certificate. He pointed out that the church affects the mindset and believes that the church should never lose its place in society.
He said if the church fails, then it will lead to anarchy as doctors and police officers will not have any use in a society where their mindset is broken.