Adventist Church in EJC distributes $4M in food packages Amidst COVID-19 challenges

Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director, Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Friday, May 8, 2020

Despite the challenges being faced by Jamaicans since the first COVID-19 case came to our shores,   members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in East Jamaica Conference (EJC) have distributed over J$4 million worth of care packages to over 9 thousand households between the months of March and April 2020.    

This information was supported by reports submitted by twenty three of the thirty one pastors responsible for the just over 100 Adventist churches in the parishes of Kingston & St. Andrew and St. Thomas.

Dr. Eric Nathan, president, EJC, commended his ministers for continuing the work of Christ as they serve their community even under trying circumstances.  

“We need to ensure that we continue to reach out to the poor, the vulnerable and the elderly  in our community especially during this time,  as many of them are not able to come out due to restrictions on movement due to their age,” he said to over thirty of his pastors in a meeting over zoom on Tuesday.

From the reports submitted, over three thousand eight hundred packages were distributed during March and April to church and community members.

“I have asked for this report to dispel the myth that the church is doing nothing for the people,” Nathan said. “When we pool our reports together it will show what the church is doing,” he added.

 Despite not being able to meet physically in churches for worship on Sabbaths, since the government imposed restrictions on groups of more than ten people meeting in public spaces, the work of the church continues unabated.  Worship services continue online where members join mainly via zoom or via YouTube and Facebook via livestream but pastors and elders continue to touch the lives of people during the week as they render assistance where needed.   

Charged with the responsibility to shepherd and care for over 70 thousand members, pastors and church leaders in EJC continue to use their internal network of elders and church members to assist the less fortunate in both church and community with food packages. Many of these food distributions take place on a weekly basis.

Community Services Director for the Conference, Dr. Lorenzo Brown said that with the onset of COVID-19  in Jamaica, the church and its

institutions have had to work closer with each other to accomplish their goal of helping those in need. 

“We have received financial assistance from higher organization at Jamaica Union along with the Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (ADRA),” Brown said “and our Adventist-Layperson’s Services and Industries (ASI) arm of the church has come on board with significant sums of money over the past few weeks.  Between the JAMU, ADRA and ASI over one million dollars was given to assist members and the community in the month of April Brown disclosed and local churches continue to pool their resources to take care of those in need and to ensure the work of Christ continue even in difficult times.  

When asked what were some of the items given out in the care packages, Pastor Brown said packages included rice, flour, cornmeal, sugar, oil, sardines, mackerel along with soap and toiletries and that many of the local churches added other components like shoes and clothing where these were needed.

The church in East Jamaica Conference is shepherded by 31 pastors who are supported by over two hundred elders and lay workers who keep the operation of just over 100 churches operational even in COVID-19 times.

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