Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist Church members in St. Catherine marched in the streets of Portmore on Saturday, August 26, 2017, calling for the end of violence in the Jamaican society.
Enditnow march | Credits: Andrew Johnson
Enditnow March | Credits: Andrew Johnson
Enditnowmarch | Credits: Andrew Johnson
The march was done in observance of the EndItNow programme - “a global initiative by the Seventh-day Adventist Church to raise awareness and advocate for the end of violence around the world.” – www.enditnow.org.
According to Pastor Levi Johnson, President of the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (CJC), “we have invited you here--women ministries leaders, youth, youth leaders, pathfinders and others, to make one big statement - we are saying NO to crime, violence and abuse.”
“Anywhere there is crime, violence and abuse, we are saying NO to it” said Johnson. “Whether it is in the church, the ministry or anywhere else, we are saying NO to it.”
Pastor Johnson was addressing an audience of close to 800 persons gathered at the Marine Park Community Centre in Portmore for the EndItNow Rally that culminated the March.
The March was done by two groups - one group started at Independence City, moved on to Newlands Road, Naggo Head and to the Marine Park Community Centre.
The second group marched from the Braeton Seventh-day Adventist Church on Hellshire Main Road, onto the Braeton Road and to the Community Centre.
Each group held placards and banners with messages and appeals to end violence against women, men and children.
President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, Pastor Everett Brown was also present at the Rally and greeted the gathering.
Pastor Brown said he wanted “to challenge the members of the church to start treating each other with love and respect. And if we stamp out abuse within our homes, the rest of Jamaica will see us as the ideal and will join us in living the way God wants us to live.”
Guest presentations were made by Leaders of Government and non-governmental organizations. In that group was Mr Alrick Campbell, Deputy Mayor of the Portmore Municipality who expressed thanks to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the EndItNow initiative. He also challenged the church to use its influence against violence.
Ms Lorrain Scarlett of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, shared that in 2016, 25 women were killed in gender-based violence incidences. According to her, “this is 25 deaths too many.” Ms Scarlett spoke about the various possible types of gender-based “abuse” and made an appeal to the audience to be aware of them so that they can take steps to put an end to all abuse.
The March and Rally were organized by the Women’s Ministries Department of the CJC and the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (JAMU).
The EndItNow initiative was launched in 2009 as a partnership between the Women Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency).