February 1, 2023

Anglicans focus on caring for God’s creation

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Ang 1By Paul Henry From Jamaica Observer

WORSHIPPERS packed St Mary the Virgin Church for the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands St Andrew Deanery Day service last Sunday.

The churches from the St Andrew Deanery turned out for the annual service which is usually followed by a discussion on issues facing the Anglican communion and the taking of policy decisions.

The service was held under the theme, ‘The Environment: Hope for the Future’. The message was delivered by Dr Las Newman, lay reader of St Andrew Parish Church on Hagley Park Road.

Newman urged congregants to take care of the environment, which he said is a part of their mission as believers in Christ Jesus. He urged believers to return to an “integration of religion with the world around us”.

He spoke of how man has been destroying the physical environment — the coral reefs, beaches, forests — for “our selfish gain”.

“What’s our duty mission in this church… our mission in this world?” the homilist asked rhetorically, before advising that it is to live out the ‘Five marks of mission’ found in the diocese’s Strategic Development Plan 2014-2019.

The five marks are to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God; teach, baptise and nurture new believers; respond to human need by loving service; challenge violence, injustice and oppression and work for peace and reconciliation; and to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Newman advised that believers should do their bit to safeguard the environment by planting trees, forming environment clubs within the church and in their neighbourhoods, stop littering and the burning of garbage.

“Caring for God’s creation is one of our missionary mandates. Let us take care of the environment and it will take care of you,” Newman said.

In an apparent effort to emphasise the theme of the service, the congregation sang Michael Jackson’s Heal The World.

Among the participating churches were St Andrew Parish Church, St Luke’s Cross Roads, St Phillips, Church of the Ascension Mona, and Church of the Good Shepherd.

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