Heavy focus will be placed on the youth and family this month as part of the Anglican Church’s three-year strategic plan.
Bishop of Barbados Dr John Holder told a recent news conference that “we as a church are very concerned about some of the issues we see here in our society”, as he outlined a number of activities aimed at addressing these challenges.
“We are very concerned with the issues relating to our children and our young people. We have had as an Anglican Church a long, long history of responding to family issues in Barbados,” Bishop Holder said in reference to recent violent incidents at some of the island’s schools.
The Bishop revealed that there would be a public lecture and panel discussion led by Professor Christine Barrow, entitled: Celebrating our Barbadian Families at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus on May 3rd.
A youth concert will also be held at Queen’s Park on May 15th.
“Our Youth Ministry in the Diocese is trying to [show] the young people not only within the church but within society the very positive elements that should be in their lives as they grow up. And we are trying to show that the way for example that we deal with issues of difference and issues that lead to violence is not to resort to violence itself but to try as far as possible to engage in the kind of discussions, the kind of relationships that will lead them away from violence,” he said.
Prison inmates will also benefit from the activities to mark Child and Family Month. A church service will be presided over by Bishop Holder. Parents Day is also slated for May 15th at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, during which prisoners will be allowed to recite their own poems and present their writings, music and art and craft.
“We will continue to preach love and forgiveness and our ministry as we see it as a church, is not to only concentrate only on those who come to us on Sundays but those who have probably not done the best with their lives and therefore we are not a judgemental church. We don’t stand up and point fingers at those who have made mistakes and stumbled.
“We are an embracing church that reaches out continuously and offer God’s forgiveness, and that is our approach to anyone in society or in the world that society deems as having fallen off the straight and narrow road along the way,” Bishop Holder explained.
Meantime George Griffith, who is the chairman of the Home and Family Life Commission of the Anglican Diocese, said other activities would also be held marking International Family Day.
“What we really want families to do is to organize special activities for members of their family but in particular we are really urging members of the family to reach out to those family members who have drifted away from the family unit, maybe estranged in one way or the other. We will be urging that there be some level of acceptance some forgiveness and some renewal of those bonds that should keep family together,” Griffith said.