The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted social life, sports, and all aspects of life. Churches have not been spared. They have been significantly affected and permanently transformed by this pandemic. This has caused the church to find new ways of adapting to this ‘new normal’. The Peat Hill S.D.A church though being involved in a major church renovation project initiated by Pastor Brian Shaw, embarked on a number of initiatives to provide assistance to its members as well as the community, through support of an overseas donor.
Under the leadership of Pastor Jermy Arnold, surveys were conducted, and the needs were identified. Projects were set up to address these needs. The projects so far are:
1. Distribution of Care Packages
2. Procurement of laptops to assist needy children
3. Establishment of a Scholarship Fund
4. Back to School Treat
32 care packages comprising of food items were distributed to the needy within the community.
Distribution of Laptops
Ten children from the church were identified and presented with new laptops to assist with online classes. Most of the recipients were high school students.
This project was initiated by the Education, Children's Ministries and A. Y. Department.
Toni-Ann McDuffus, a fourth form student at Oberlin High School and one of the recipients, expressed her appreciation and shared the impact the laptop will have towards her educational development.
She emphasized, "I will make use of the device and will make the donor and church proud."
With the contribution from our donor, we were also able to set up a scholarship fund which would see students receiving funds to assist with their education twice per year. The first handing over exercise was held on September 4, 2021, in which two university students received scholarships. This was initiated by the Education Department in collaboration with the A.Y Department.
Raheme Mattie, a student at Northern Caribbean University voiced his gratitude for being chosen to receive the scholarship to assist him on his academic journey. He expressed heartfelt thanks to the persons instrumental in providing the scholarship. He further stated that nothing comes easy, but he is grateful for the support of the church and the donor. This scholarship he contends will assist him to achieve his academic goals.
Back to School Treat
52 recipients from the church and the community received back to school supplies. The students and parents were very appreciative of this gesture and expressed their gratitude. This initiative was spearheaded by the Children's Ministries and Education Departments.
Covid 19 has reaffirmed that the church does not live within walls. The church is a sign, symbol, and pointer to God’s kingdom. It is called, not to be of the world, but to reflect the presence of God.
With the aid of our donors and sponsors and leadership of our new Pastor, Andre Clark, the work continues.