Anglican Bishop of Barbados and Archbishop of the West Indies Dr John Holder is calling for more social programmes to help Barbadian families in crisis.
In fact, commenting on the recent suicide of 16-year-old student Chante Natasha Yarde of Mission Gap, Brittons Hill, St Michael, the Anglican cleric recommended a rebirth of the social clubs that helped shape the lives of the young people of his generation.
“In my early days we had our social clubs, we had our groups in the church, but a lot of young people these days are not in these groups. I grew up in the Anglican Young People’s Association and the Church Lads Brigade or my social club in the community. That interaction assisted us in our younger days; but a lot of that is missing today,” Holder said as he introduced the Right Reverend James Tengatenga of Malawi, the featured speaker for Sunday’s Diocesan service at Kensington Oval.
He said the society was becoming more diverse and complicated, placing more pressure on ordinary families to provide the youth the emotional support they need, or “the space for children to grow into decent wholesome adults”.
Holder estimated that up to four generations of Barbadian children had been “disconnected from the moral guidelines” that helped older generations to survive, and suggested that for there to be any meaningful change “the society as a whole [must] go back and strengthen the communities”.
The Bishop told reporters that the Anglican Church had set up a homework programme at St Ambrose Church where an attempt was being made to save young girls from illegal activities.
However, he said a lot of the work done by the church was being undermined by the home.
“We try to pull the girls out for two hours a week to give them some lessons. For that two hours they are not exposed to drugs and prostitution and all kinds of crazy things. Some parents believe that the church and the school can do everything. You have them in the church for two or three hours but two minutes in the household the guidance disappears because the household cannot strengthen the moral guidance they receive in the church,” Holder explained.