Get closer to God this Lenten season.
This was the advice students from St Albans’s Primary received as they started the school day off with worship at their annual Ash Wednesday service held at the nearby St Alban’s Anglican Church.
In her address during the near hour-long service at which the children sang the traditional hymns Do No Sinful Action and Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross, former senior teacher Wendy Alleyne implored the students to stay clear of violence.
Since the start of the school term, more than a dozen students have been injured in stabbing incidents. The Ministry of Education has pledged to employ all necessary measures to arrest the problem.
“I am sure that you are aware of the violence that is happening within our schools today. Children are being tempted to carry dangerous weapons to school; they are being tempted to be disrespectful to persons in authorities.
“I want you boys and girls to do something for me this Lenten season. Ask mummy and daddy to take you to church. Tell them that you see too much violence going on in society and you want to be closer to God,” Alleyne told the juniors.
She also encouraged the attentive pupils to resolve their differences amicably and urged them not to hold grudges or support bullying or fighting.
“I want that if you see something happening just move away, don’t follow bad company. If something happens, try to solve it. Don’t let the first thing you think is to take up a knife and carry to school.
“Don’t hold grudges if someone had done you something wrong. Don’t look to fight because Jesus forgives. You may not forget what the person did but forgive because it doesn’t make sense holding grudges in your heart,” Alleyne further implored.
At the end of the service, the veteran educator told Barbados TODAY that she believed parents must play a more active role in their children’s lives to ensure they are not engaging in deviant behaviour.
“I think parents should do more searching of children’s bags. Parents have given up their role as parents; you have small children who they are saying they cannot control. So if they are not controlling the children, the teacher’s job will be harder. There is too much aggression sometimes among the smaller ones,” she said.
Meanwhile, personnel from the St Leonard’s Anglican Church took Ash Wednesday celebrations beyond the church doors to Carlton and A1 Supermarket in Black Rock, St Michael.
From as early as 7 a.m., Rector of the church, Sonia Hinds offered encouragement and marked the cross of ashes, which symbolizes penance, mourning and mortality, on the foreheads of several people who stopped by.
Hinds told Barbados TODAY the island was facing some tough challenges and Lent provided citizens with the opportunity to reassess their lives.
“For us it means an opportunity for us to recognize ourselves as fragile beings, the uncertainty of life. What we say when we put the cross on the face with ashes is ‘remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return’, so it gives us that opportunity to remember our dependence on God,” she said.
Lent will last for 40 days leading up to Easter, and is treated as a period of reflection and a time for a break from certain food and activities.