Dateline

Religious news from around the world.

Religious news from around the world.

In Cayman Islands, Adventist pastors offer at-risk youth alternative to drugs, gangs

 
Seventh-day Adventist Church pastors in the Cayman Islands trade suits and sermon helps for jeans and dominos.

 They are not shirking responsibil­ity. Ministers in the Caribbean nation are mentoring young people in the community who are vulnerable to drug abuse and gang involvement.

The Cayman Islands have seen a sharp and “unprecedented” rise in violent crime this year, said Dannie Clarke, president of the Adventist Church in the country. He and his pastoral team have observed more young people turning toward a life of crime, baited by the sense of belonging and quick money that gangs promise. “We want to be there to support them, to put a hand on their shoulders,” said Clarke. For some churches, that means offering young people sports and social programs. “We want to be personally connected to these guys before they reach a place where they consider doing something that can have catastrophic consequences.”

Through a community prayer and mentorship program launched in September 2011, Adventists are offering an alternative to gang involvement. Pastors hold commu­nity meetings and prayer rallies once a week where they offer counseling and support to young people “on the fringes,” Clarke said. They pray for the community, law enforcement members, perpetrators and victims, and their respective families.

Affected young people are already opening up. One even helped solve a string of murders. Another passed a note to Clarke after a recent community meeting. It just said, “Please give me a call. They have my name on a hit list and I want to talk to somebody because I fear for my life.”

The church is working with the police department to provide a place where young people can request protection or aid cases in safety and confidence, Clarke said. Pastors will not share any information without the young person’s expressed per­mission, he added.

The pastors’ efforts got a boost last week when Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush and several members of the country’s cabinet and legislature attended the com­munity meeting and prayer rally. Regional leaders of other Christian denominations have also shown support for the project by helping lead out in community prayer.

Ultimately, Clarke and his team of pastors hope to garner even broader community support. “We want to empower people in the community to catch the spark and put in place an infrastructure for sustainable growth and development.” Clarke is now asking community leaders to create a registry of at-risk youth who could use a big brother or sister.

“We must know our people. We must look out when one person’s child is hurting or vulnerable,” Clarke said. “Many times, it’s not that these youth don’t want to get involved in positive things. They just may not have the opportunity or the right influences.” [Elizabeth Lechleitner/ ANN]


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

January 2012

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Issues in the interpretation of the seven trumpets of Revelation

When we examine this prophecy from our historical moment, we should realize that some elements have been fulfilled while others are in the process of fulfillment.

All kinds of stuff

Could there be something rather less intimidating about a complex doctrinal presentation than seeing ourselves in a transparent parable?

Good Stories

How does one tell a good children’s story?

The Heaven-ordained Result of Revival and Reformation

Our special revival and reformation column.

Different from us: A Pastoral Reflection on Cultural Conflict

How do we, as ministers of the gospel, respond to the questions voiced in our society?

The Joys (and Challenges) of Retirement

If we are blessed to have lived long enough to retire, we will face some new challenges and new joys. What will be our attitude?

Christians, Worldviews, and Wisdom

Only a deep, personal knowledge of God can give us the wisdom to make truly informed choices of what standard we will use to recognize true and trustworthy knowledge—the Word of God or modern scientific interpretations.

7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership

Overcoming self-defeating behavior in work and ministry.

Rest

Society today does not value the importance of rest and sleep, and many often con­sider sleep to be a waste of time.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)