Jamaica | Mar 16, 2023

Disabilities community in Jamaica benefits from church initiative

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Louise Swinton (second left) touches the head of her daughter Brittany during the presentation of a new wheelchair at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester on March 9. (Contributed photo)

Recent statistics show that around 200,000 Jamaicans live with a disability, but the numbers are disproportionately high among those affected by poverty and unemployment. Against that background, dozens of members of the disabilities community in Jamaica benefited from free medical check-ups and assistive devices and presentations on mental health, psychiatry, and ophthalmology.

This was done during an Assistive and Mental Health Symposium held at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester from March 5 to 12. The symposium was an activity within a week of activities for the annual Possibility Ministries Awareness week, organised by the Jamaica Union Conference of the Adventist Church.

Jamaica Union Possibility Ministries Coordinator, Adrian Cotterell explains that, “the week calls attention to the Adventist Church community and the wider community to this often-forgotten group of persons by the society of their rights and the need to accord them similar privileges to experience joy, happiness, liberty and contentment.

A beneficiary of the week’s activities was the Mustard Seed Community, Gift of Hope, which cares for 27 physically and mentally disabled residents. The organisation received a visit at its institution by a team from the church and were presented with a donation of much-needed toiletries.

The special Possibility Ministries week began with the planting of trees in many areas across the island, visits to infirmaries and place-of-care for the disabled, prayer and Saturday (Sabbath) church services, a symposium, and a grand convention on Sunday (March 12) at the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Catherine.

Formation of Possibility Ministries

Disability has no boundaries, it has no face or race; it has no colour or creed; it has no religion or denomination.

Adrian Cotterell, Jamaica Union Possibility Ministries Coordinator

While most people refer to ministering to people with disability as Disability Ministries, the Adventist Church has decided on the nomenclature of Possibility Ministries, which recognises the potential, promises, possibilities, life-changing and transformational outcomes that can take place when members of the disabilities community are involved in the activities of the church and society.

“Disability has no boundaries,” Cotterell contends, “it has no face or race; it has no colour or creed; it has no religion or denomination. Disability may affect anyone at any time, and so I appeal to our members and the wider society to show more love, patience, and kindness to members of the disabled community.”

Administrator of the Gift of Hope, Ann Parker-Dale comments, “the visit to our institution was an exceptional one and we were really happy for the donation received. I have learned so much from this symposium that I will be able to go back to make their lives a lot better.”

Parker-Dale, who attended the symposium along with other representatives and a resident of the institution spoke to the psychiatrist, the ophthalmologist, and the medical doctor and promised to enhance the delivery of care to the residents.

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