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SKNIS Photo: Honourable Vance Amory

Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 30, 2019 (SKNIS): Senior Minister and Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Honourable Vance Amory, wants the church to play a greater role in shaping the future of St. Kitts and Nevis and noted that the National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP) offers a perfect opportunity to advance this agenda.

“The church has been seen as the last resort. Only when something distressful happens we turn to the church as the go to,” Senior Minister Amory stated, at a Retreat to review the NSCP and to prepare for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Is it too late?” he questioned. “[It’s] never too late, but our approach must be that we will seek through the involvement of you, as pastors in the chaplaincy programme in our school system, interacting through the teachers, with the teachers, to the homes that we can change the direction and eradicate [or reduce] the negativity and the antisocial behaviour which have plagued our country over the years.”

The NSCP was launched in 2019 as an initiative of the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs. It was designed to provide support for students, teachers and parents in personal, moral, emotional and spiritual development matters.

Many global Christian schools already have a strong fellowship that allows students and their parents, as well as faculty, to come together as a community. Connecting with people that share the same values, holding space, and lending a helping hand when in need, can help students cope with their academic pursuits as they can be assured of emotional support through faith. As an example, many a Sydney boarding school boast of charming churches on their grounds where everyone can find a place in the congregation. Such endeavors often prove to be helpful for children to follow a disciplined and spiritually-rooted academic life which can have a great impact on their future.

Senior Minister Amory recounted a situation that took place decades ago while he served as the headmaster of the Charlestown Secondary School.

“One time we had the difficulty of teachers saying that ‘we don’t want assemblies in our schools. Assemblies are a waste of time’,” he said, while sharing the story with the 25 church leaders at the Retreat. “And I remember going to the staff room and we had a meeting shortly after I heard that kind of comment from leaders, senior teachers, graduates, and said to them in that meeting there will be no debate on the matter. Now it might sound as if I was being dictatorial but really and truly, I was affirming one thing that we will not discuss the removal of the things of God and spiritual things from our schools.”
The senior minister added that the government was committed to the NSCP and was pleased with the eagerness that the church leaders continue to show for the programme.

The Retreat was held on Thursday, August 29, 2019, at the Sugar Bay Club Conference Room in Frigate Bay. Some of the topics covered included HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine Programme in Schools, Ministering to Children, Skills for Chaplaincy, Guidelines for the NSCP, and a general discussion on the Implementation of NSCP 2019.

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