A regional church leader today called on Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean to take heed of the very serious warnings issued to them, in the form of hurricane devastation.
Head of the Christian Union Churches of the Caribbean Global, Bishop Joseph Atherley issued the stern word of caution, even as he acknowledged that his own church family had not been spared the wrath of this Atlantic season’s most powerful storms.
With Dominica becoming the latest island to suffer major devastation, Bishop Atherley warned that “man’s own greed and his desire for more causes these types of things to happen”, as he zeroed in on the negative effects of climate change and global warming in the region.
“The denuding of the forests, deforestation, the heating up of the ocean, the heating up of the atmosphere generally – all of these things deriving from the development of industry and all of that development that is driven by greed without reference to the impact it has on the environment, I think that is part of it,” he said.
“Nature goes awry and ultimately whether God brings it, as some people would suggest it is judgement, or allows it that we would be taught a lesson and brought back to our own sense of mortality and dependence upon him and need for him, . . . at the end of the day man must recognize that he is totally at the mercies of God who he sometimes does not acknowledge,” the church leader stressed.
However, with Barbadians having generally been spared much of the impact of Irma and Maria which assaulted sections of the northern Caribbean within the past two weeks, Bishop Atherley said it was definitely not on account of “God being a Bajan or Bajans being better than anybody else.
“I don’t think it is anything like that. I think geography has something to do with it,” he said, while contending that when “we interfere with nature, we put things out of sync and some of these things result.
“I think the natural course of things would suggest that misfortunes will take place, but I don’t think it is God judging anybody more soarly than any other [because, morally] we are all in the same boat,” he stressed, even as he called on Barbadians to face up to their own vulnerabilities and to acknowledge that “bad things happen to good people”.
The Christian Union Churches of the Caribbean Global currently has 14 churches in Dominica, and a 15th under construction. It also operates in Antigua & Barbuda, St Martin, St Croix, Trinidad and Venezuela.
In light of the devastation caused by Irma, an appeal has been launched by the group to assist victims in the northern Caribbean, with Atherley suggesting today that those efforts would now have to be scaled up in light of Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Dominica during its passage on Monday night, two years after it was impacted by Tropical Storm Erica.
“When Erika passed [a similar appeal was launched and] it was quite successful. We were able to send about 200 boxes of supplies and about $60,000 out of Barbados and also we were able to mobilise support from our other territories,” he said, while expressing hope that Barbadians would again come to the assistance of Dominica in its hour of need.