Thursday, April 18, 2024

Sir Wesley:Men’s outreach needed

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Barbadian men are facing stumbling blocks in society, such as religious incompatibility, unemployment, masculinity and paternity issues, which are causing them to suffer under pressure.
This was the word from Reverend Dr Sir Wesley Hall as he delivered the feature address during the One Man A Month (OMAM) initiative’s first anniversary thanksgiving service at Mount Zion’s Missions Inc., St James, yesterday.
Sir Wesley said that from his constant interaction with men through seminars and group meetings, he knows “men are saying that these stumbling blocks are hurting them in many ways and that leads to inactivity in the church”.
“My answer is that we need male encounter programmes where men are at liberty to talk about concerns and issues which are affecting their lives and also share their interests and do men things,” he said.
“They should be able to get together and do men things without fear of ridicule and judgement.”
Sir Wesley continued: “What is required therefore is men laying their lives down for God, men coming together in Christ and encouraged to participate in church activities.
“If that was done, the church would no longer be seen by some as a sanctuary for women and older folks, but will answer the questions why men are not coming to church and why so many of those who come to church are not involved.”
OMAM was conceptualized early in 2012 and officially launched at Independence Square. It was designed in an effort to combat the escalating statistics on the number of men being incarcerated, infected with AIDS, liming on the block, involved as professional men investing their time and money in strip bars and exotic massage parlours, thereby contributing to the decline of the family unit.
Sir Wesley commended the collaborative effort which involved several key stakeholders, including the Men’s Educational and Support Association, National Council on Substance Abuse, Parent Education for Development in Barbados (PAREDOS), National Initiative for Service Excellence, National Task Force for Crime Prevention, Bureau of Gender Affairs, and Power In The Blood Assembly, among others.
He encouraged stakeholders to “be patient, because these men have different personalities as Jesus’ disciples did”.
Meanwhile, Reverend Dr Lucille Baird, who gave an overview and report on the programme, said that thus far, OMAM has gone into the Emmerton Lane and Eden Lodge communities, collected information from residents and used data surveys to assess the challenges and concerns of residents so that the appropriate programmes could be implemented to target those areas.
In delivering congratulatory remarks, Minister Steve Blackett said that from the progress reports, the initiative has clearly achieved tremendous benefits in its first year. He said that accomplishments have been realized through continuous evangelism and the seminars aimed at building strong values, tolerance, and spirituality. (AH)

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