AS Jamaica continues to grapple with the crime monster the recently launched Association of Christian Communicators and Media (ACCM) is hoping to show how the Church can be a part of the solution by hosting a forum that will feature several experts in the area, including a former United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent.
Vice-president of the ACCM, Byron Buckley said the upcoming forum, slated for December 11, will explore the different roles the Church can play, and assess how Christians can pool their resources and become more effective in tackling social issues such as poverty, the breakdown of family life, and unemployment.
"Crime is everyone's business and there is a role that we can all play," said Buckley.
The forum will be the first for the ACCM, which was launched on October 2 and comprises a consortium of Christians in the business of communications, spanning the Caribbean and the Americas.
The discussion will be moderated by Bishop Herro "Steve" Blair and the panel will include Superintendent Gladys Brown, former head of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse; Bishop Rowan Edwards, founder of the Lighthouse Worship Centre in Spanish Town; and Wilfred Rattigan, a former FBI agent and law enforcement executive.
President of the ACCM, Jenni Campbell noted that although churches are in communities across the island there is a growing and powerful emergence of secularism in these same communities that has overshadowed the balancing role and voice of the Christian bodies.
According to Campbell, she has found that some Jamaicans are willing to make a living at any cost, even through crime.
"We understand what is the lay of the land but the Church still has a role to play," declared Campbell as she noted that it is her hope that churches will unite and work together under the leading of the Holy Spirit to tackle crime and violence in communities across Jamaica.
"The Church is the light, and when the light shines in a community, something should happen in that community," she reasoned.
The forum, which is themed 'The role of the Christian church in building safer communities', will be hosted between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. The discussion can be viewed via YouTube and Facebook or by tuning in to MTM TV, Gospel Vibes Radio FM online or NCU 91.1 FM. There is also the option to join a live discussion at 6:00 pm on TBC Radio FM 88.5 or at the Freedom Come Rain Ministry tent on the Spanish Town Bypass in St Catherine.
Dr Delroy Lingo, who represents the Diaspora on the ACCM executive committee, feels this forum is timely. He said he has come across several Jamaicans now living overseas who no longer want to visit the island because of the high crime rate.
According to Lingo, he would like to see the churches included in the discussions to find solutions to tackle the crime problem.
"For too long the voice of the Church has not been heard," said Lingo.
The forum is being sponsored by Marathon Insurance Brokers.