Scores of Seventh-day Adventists joined government officials and others in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts to march against an escalating crime wave in a local community.
More than 300 church members from nine Adventist congregations denounced crime by encouraging onlookers to have love for each other, put away guns, keep the Ten Commandments, and join together in the fight against violence. Other groups also took part in the government-organized march and rally.
Parliamentary lawmaker Eugene Hamilton praised the Adventist Church on the island for its commitment to crime reduction and “to the saving of our misguided youngter’s lives,” the St. Kitts and Nevis News website reported.
“This gathering demonstrates that crime produces social solidarity,” he said. “Let us therefore embrace the ideas of all sectors, groups, organizations and people, recognizing that we all have something valuable to contribute to nation building.”
Hamilton urged churches in the community to work together against crime in Cayon, which has a population of 3,000.
The police chief and other leaders spoke during the rally.
Sherwin A.E. White, a leader of the Adventist Church on St. Kitts, said the Cayon Adventist Church took the lead in sending positive messages to their communities with Pathfinders and other activities centered on young people.
“Participating in marches against crime becomes imperative because church members are a part of the communities that are challenged with social ills and vices that bring about negative effects,” White said.
For nearly four years, church members have taken new measures to demonstrate that “the church is the community for the community,” White said. Church programs target single fathers, drug awareness, ending violence against women (Enditnow), and prayer walks in crime-prone areas.
Church members across the island also get involved in community-based activities on the third Sabbath of the second month of every quarter, providing breakfast to police officers and prison officers, and offering free medical screenings in main squares.
“Involvement in community-based activities has proven to be positive reinforcements that crime should not be an option,” White said.
The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis constitute one country and belong to the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. The Seventh-day Adventist Church there has more than 1,600 church members worshiping in nine congregations. The church also operates a dental clinic, an elementary school, and a book and health food store in St. Kitts.