Newly installed Dean of the Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels Dr Jeffrey Gibson has signalled his willingness to collaborate with other agencies to tackle social issues plaguing the youth.
Interviewed by Barbados TODAY, Gibson said that he was concerned about the crime situation, which has had the young demographic in its clutches in recent times.
“The Anglican Church is not only concerned about the level of violence but is prepared to do something to change people’s outlook, to provide care for people who have been affected by violence and to serve in some position where we can rehabilitate those who might have been affected by violence,” Gibson said.
He explained that while he had not reflected on any specific programme targeting any specific group outside the church, he had taken note of worrying crime and the so-called gang culture now permeating society.
“I believe that we are able to identify a cadre of people with resources [and] we can position the church to reach such persons but it must be an intentional approach; it shouldn’t be one of condemnation first.
“Yes, we denounce all forms of violent behaviour but we should also seek to uncover what might be the underlying causes of the violence and to see how one can move persons from that sort of spiral of violence, where they perpetuate violence and experience violence to adopting a new form of harmonious living,” the senior cleric said.
Last year, the country recorded some 30 murders, most of them gun-related, and there has been one so far this year, prompting Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite to again raise concern about the level of gun violence.
Dr Gibson said: “I might have to revisit a programme that I was responsible for leading in the Diocese almost 15 years ago. We did mount a programme called Plough Shares asking people to put down the swords and take up practical activity geared towards building relationships. That is something that could be revisited in some form and probably at the national level,” he said.
Issues plaguing the nation’s children are also a great source of concern for the clergyman. Gibson said the Anglican Church had already set up a committee to deal with such issues.
“I think [that it] will take responsibility for some aspects of reaching, not only children and youth, but addressing some of the social needs of the island,” he revealed.
Dr Gibson said the Church was also willing to collaborate with other agencies.
“I don’t think the Cathedral needs to lead or do everything for the Anglican Church because there are other agencies, other ministries, which I think that the Cathedral can help to promote, to enhance or even provide occasions for there to be a national celebration or the stage for advocacy,”