There is no divine or miraculous solution to the crime wave that has cast a pall over Barbados and the region, with Anglican Archbishop Dr John Holder warning that prayer is not enough.
In fact, the head of the Anglican Church in the West Indies has said praying will not magically solve the problem of crime and violence.
Just last week Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite called on the church to go into problematic communities and equip young people with a moral compass that would force them to think twice before leaving home with guns and ammunition when they go to parties.
“We need to find out what has gone wrong. What do we need to do to change this and we cannot change this by sitting in churches.
“We have to change this by going into the communities, by going into the homes, find out where there are families that have issues, go to the families and see how you can assist the families,” he said.
Asked this morning to respond to the Attorney General’s call for the church’s intervention, Dr Holder said it was not enough to pray and wait for miracles.
Instead, he said, there was need for a review of the underlying issues that cause people to engage in violence, as well as a return to the principle of turning the other cheek.
“Prayer is not magic. You pray in context. Every Sunday in our communion service, we pray for the peace of the world.
“The church has taught for many years, this conviction about forgiveness and turning the other cheek. These are not simply a pass-by thing somewhere in the sky; they are real things about real relationships because if we do not employ these thing, we end up in terrible acts of violence,” the Archbishop stressed.
Dr Holder addressed a news conference this morning at which he announced plans for the upcoming Provincial Synod of the Church in the Province of the West Indies to be held here for the first time in 23 years.
He said it would not be easy to lift the cloud of violence that has overtaken the country, but the church was duty-bound to address the issue and offer solutions to help the nation cope with
this “frightening experience”.
He also called for the “culture of social media” and other forms that support and promote violence to be erased from the minds of the youth.
The issue of violence in the Caribbean will be one of the main topics for discussion when the 56 delegates meet at Divi Southwinds for the synod, which opens with a prayer service at St Michael’s Cathedral at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The theme for this year’s synod is, Anglicans: The Gifts We Bring To Mission and Ministry in the World.
“I know there are people who from time to time would question the relevance of the church, certainly in terms of its social engagement. We at no time have pulled back from that. We believe that as Anglicans the area of our work is the entire community and society as a whole. We want as a province to pay attention to that,” said Reverend Robert Thompson, Bishop Suffragan of Kingston, Jamaica.