More than one hundred community Services members from across East Jamaica Conference gathered at the Conference' Golden Acres campsite for their Community Service week-end retreat during the period April 1 – 3, 2022 under the theme 'Committed for Mission, I will Go'.
The objective of the retreat was to empower and expose members to best practices in the field of community service as they prepare themselves to go forward in service for the Lord.
It was the first physical gathering of the group in over two years but the commitment and enthusiasm for helping others was not abated despite the curtailment in movement and disruption in gathering caused by government COVID-19 restrictions.
In his message to the group on Sabbath April 2, 2022 Pastor Eric Nathan, President, EJC said it was a divine imperative of the church not just to relieve suffering but to do the will of God.
“Woe is the church if the church sits back and does nothing to relieve the suffering and pain being experienced by humanity,” Nathan said.
The president in his message said he made three assumptions about the Community Service department based on the them they had chosen for the week-end.
Pastor Nathan highlighted the significance of the work being done by the department and linked the growth of the church to the faithful men and women who God had called to assist people who are in need of help.
“I am convinced that when the church begins to put importance on the work of the Community Service department that we will begin to experience greater success in advancing the mission,” the president said.
Pastor Nathan spoke passionately about the significant work that can be accomplished in evangelism through the department. Many have now accepted the idea that successful evangelism is only when we have massive tent campaigns or when we have star preachers who are left to carry the work.
“The reason I believe we have so few people being baptized annually is because we have mis- focused and we have grown to look at big tents and star evangelists. We have come to look at evangelism as what takes place under a big tent or church crusade; but while these have their places, it is important to know that we cannot ignore the importance of the community service department,” Nathan said emphatically.
“As leader of this field, I believe we need to give more focus to this department. It is not about sermonizing or star evangelists, it should be more about getting the church engaged,” the president said.
In the evening, a special prayer service was held for the new members who were selected by their church to serve this year.
Community Service director, Pastor Lorenzo Brown commended each member of the federation for their faithfulness and reminded them that they were valued part of the church’s family.
“Every time you provide shelter for the needy, give food to the poor, visit the sick and pray for them, you are planting seeds and promoting avenues by which God can reach his people,” Brown said in his message to his participants.”
Community Services Federation President Lorna Fowler commended the members for their willing hands and hearts and for accepting the call to be co-labourers with Christ in rescuing the perishing and caring for the dying. It became necessary to be motivated and inspired to be transformed.
Over the week-end, the community service members were inspired to work for God by several speakers including Pastor Meric Walker, Executive Secretary, JAMU, Pastor Leabert Williams, Ministerial Secretary, EJC, Pastor Glenville Carr, District Pastor, Washington Gardens and Elder Michael Porteous, Treasurer, EJC.