Adventists in Jamaica Provide Hope through Possibility Ministries Symposium

Annual initiative brings healing and transformative change to people with disabilities.

Phillip Castell, Jamaica Union, and Inter-American Division News
Adventists in Jamaica Provide Hope through Possibility Ministries Symposium
Levi Johnson, secretary of the Jamaica Union Conference, presents one of 10 wheelchairs during an Assistive Technology and Health Symposium held at the Andrews Memorial Adventist church, in Kingston, Jamaica, in March. [Photo: East Jamaica Conference]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, through its Possibility Ministries, donated 10 wheelchairs to the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities at a special Assistive Technology and Health Symposium, held recently at the Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston.

The initiative was a collaborative effort between the Jamaica Union Conference, Andrews Memorial Hospital, and Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASi).

In making the presentation on behalf of the church, Levi Johnson, secretary of the Jamaica Union, addressed the audience. “Even before the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a whole gave its stamp of approval to Possibility Ministries, Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Jamaica Union, along with church leaders, made the decision not only to take one day to recognize the work of possibility ministries but to take an entire week,” he said.

“That was a bold move by our union president,” Johnson added, noting that at the time, the ministry was in its infancy. “The entire world is learning from the Jamaica Union.”

In relating the history of Possibility Ministries in Jamaica, Adrian Cotterell, Possibility Ministries director in Jamaica, said, “We launched what was then called special needs ministries in 2015. When we launched, our president, Pastor Everett Brown, made a solemn proclamation that every second week of March would be celebrated as Possibility Ministries week, when we would show to the world our love for this ministry, and that people are valued.”

One year later, the union established the first Deaf church in the Inter-American Division territory, and the church launched the annual Assistive Technology and Health Symposium to provide hearing devices, Cotterell explained. “We view disabilities through the transforming lens of possibilities, potentials, abilities, capacities, and skills and what we can do and become through the grace of Jesus,” he said.

Cotterell told the gathering that the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica has given out 50 wheelchairs annually over the past few years at a cost of more than JA$25 million (about US$160,000).

“This year, we are partnering with Andrews Memorial Hospital to give out another 150 wheelchairs totaling over nine million Jamaican dollars [about US$57,000],” he added. The ministry has also distributed dozens of walkers, crutches, canes, computers, and gift vouchers every year.

During his address to the gathering, Donmayne Gyles, CEO of Andrews Memorial Hospital, commended regional leaders of the Adventist Church’s East Jamaica Conference and the Jamaica Union for collaborating with them in their 80th year of impacting lives in Jamaica.

“This collaborative event signifies the coming together of faith, compassion, and service to our community,” Gyles said. “The whole concept is aimed at bringing hope, healing, and transformative change to individuals in need within our society. I believe I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is a testament to our shared commitment to making a positive impact upon the lives of others.”

In his devotional charge, Nigel Coke, communication director of the Jamaica Union, said that “caring for the blind, the physically immobile, those who have mental health challenges, orphans, vulnerable children, and those mourning the loss of a spouse and support of caregivers is not an option for the Seventh-day Adventist Church but an imperative.” According to Coke, Possibility Ministries is a work of the “heart.” Coke added that “church people must have empathy for those who are in need.” The poor are placed among us “to test our compassion, and we must always show kindness.”

Cecil Foster, president of the Jamaica chapter of ASi, said he was happy that ASi Jamaica is in the field working shoulder to shoulder with pastors and elders across the region in possibility ministries. Foster gave his commitment to be a present source of support for the ministry going forward.

Jamaica’s Disabilities Act came into effect on February 14, 2022, said Adrienne Pinnock, director at the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities. “It was set up to promote and protect the rights of persons with disability,” she said.

“The church needs to be conversant and familiar with the Disabilities Act because it is offering a public service,” Pinnock said. “It is important that you do not infringe on the rights of those you are offering the service to.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.

Phillip Castell, Jamaica Union, and Inter-American Division News