On Sabbath September 5, 2020, the Family Ministries Department of Central Jamaica Conference headed by Dr Roy Dennis, hosted a Parenting and Child Abuse Prevention Convention. Dr Dennis outlined the objectives of the convention as:
- Educating church leaders and parents on effective parenting strategies
- Highlighting the evils of child abuse
- Educate parents, church leaders, caregivers and children on where to get help when it is needed
In her opening statements for the first session, Mrs Keisha Dennisur-Dennis, noted that this convention comes "at a critical time" where safe havens such as schools are closed, resulting in our children being at home. At the same time, parents must "re-tool, re-strategise and sharpen" their parenting skills to meet the demands of care and nurture during this 'new normal'.
The presenters, were Dr Janice Stewart (Director, Community Counselling & Restorative Justice Center, Manchester), Dr Dolphy Cross (Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), Mrs Venese Roberts (Assistant Superintendent, Rio Cobre Children's Correctional Facilities) with the divine hour message preached by Dr Michael Harvey (Senior Pastor of the Maranatha district of Seventh-day Adventist churches). The topics discussed were: Parenting Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Practical Principles of Effective Parenting and Child Abuse Prevention.
A powerful and thought-provoking presentation, from the Word of God, was given by Dr Michael Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Maranatha District of Seventh-day Adventist Churches, under the caption, "Family Under Siege". This presentation focused on Joshua 24:15, "...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Pastor Levi Johnson, the President of the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, could not allow the opportunity to pass in addressing the members of the viewing audience. He expressed commendations to Dr Roy R. Dennis, the Director of the Family Ministries & Counselling Services Department, and his team for the work done.
Pastor Johnson stated, "This subject of parenting and child abuse prevention is not only sensitive but is considered to be complex in nature, with roots embedded in relational and environmental factors." He went further in affirming the timeliness and relevance of this convention for varying reasons.
"I have no doubt...that the information shared throughout the day will empower parents to evaluate their parenting skills and make the necessary adjustments to be better parents; better stewards of our children that God has placed in our lives", Pastor Johnson affirmed. Pastor Johnson also offered a special prayer for protection for our children and for added assistance for parents as they navigate through this trying time.
In the final session, Mrs Venese Roberts outlined the tremendous evils of child abuse. "Children as young as two-months old are ending up in the hospital," Mrs Roberts said. One of her other riveting points was that persons are grooming the church to integrate themselves into departments where they can have access to children, to win their confidence, and create an opportunity to hurt them. After a spirit-filled and informative day, Pastor Joel Shillingford (Mile Gully District of Seventh-day Adventist Churches) closed the day with a short vesper charge and prayer.