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Moravians ‘to join crime fight, help at-risk youth’

by Barbados Today
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Sharon Moravian Church

The Moravian Church has declared it’s recommitting itself to the fight against crime and to increase its efforts to meet the needs of at-risk youth.

As the church’s Synod continued at the Sharon Moravian Church on Thursday, the over 100 delegates from across the Eastern Caribbean, examined a resolution to support, encourage and develop young people who have been affected by violence.

“We agreed to look in an intentional way at ‘at risk’ youth. Sometimes these are the ones that are shunned, labelled and very often, because of the difficulty they face in countering and engaging, persons tend to just throw their hands in the air and not respond,” said Reverend Dr Adrian Smith, the secretary of the Provincial Elders Council, which chaired this week’s conference,

“But as a Moravian Church, we made an intentional decision that we are committed, this is in our DNA and we are not running from the challenge.

“We are going to face it head-on, recognizing that we may not have all the resources and all the answers, but we are willing as a Moravian Church to work with other churches, the NGO’s and the Government and anyone out there willing to help our youth and share the resources as we bring them to the table.”

Barbados is in the midst of an unprecedented and troubling year for murders, which currently stand at 32.

The church leader told a media conference the church here would provide counselling services, character-building initiatives and closer links with organizations currently championing the fight against violence.

Said Reverend Dr Smith: “For example, Corey Layne has a good programme at the [Nature Fun] Ranch and so we are providing a framework that allows us to dialogue and partner with Corey.

“Where there are existing programmes that share in our philosophy and understanding of the human dignity and the value of the person and how to build them up and strengthen them, we will partner with them.”

He added that in many cases, young people simply needed to be given the necessary tools to cope with the ever-changing issues around them.

“Some of our young people just don’t know how to cope with what is happening and the rapid changes.

“Some of the changes are happening so quickly that after you develop one set of coping skills, you have to go again.  So creating a framework that allows for constant formation of the coping skills is important,” Reverend Dr Smith said.

Church leaders also disclosed they were doubling down on efforts to establish more church-based schools in the Eastern Caribbean.

They told reporters various primary and secondary schools already exist across the region and they are pushing for a tertiary-level college in Antigua – one of the earliest bases of the Moravian Church in the West Indies – in the “very near” future.

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