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Jamaica: changing lives long-term

Anglicans in Jamaica are pioneering a new approach to mission that is enabling local churches and groups to share their skills ...

Anglicans in Jamaica are pioneering a new approach to mission that is enabling local churches and groups to pool their efforts and share their skills.
 
The Anglican Togetherness Group (ATG) is bringing together the 'little efforts' of churches so that they can achieve more collectively.
 
The initiative started four years ago when six churches in the Mona Valley of Kingston – representing 8,000 people from all parts of the community – held community walks to raise awareness of local issues.
 
The walks were a success, leading to the launch of ACT, which aims to applaud what churches are already doing while enabling them to achieve more by learning from each other and sharing skills and resources.
 
Some of these 'little efforts' include a homework and learning centre for students, vocational training in video production, peace management skills, and a rugby club (pictured) that is helping young men to express and contain their anger and frustration in safe ways.
 
ACT co-ordinator the Revd Garth Minott explained: "The aim is to bring together all those 'little efforts' which are already up and running and which have been giving people hope.
 
"By bringing people together, we can share a vision and share knowledge so that, united, we can have an even bigger impact in terms of long-lasting and sustainable positive change.
 
"ATG’s mission is to see congregations working and worshiping together to fulfil the great commission and facilitate change in the Mona Valley area and some surrounding areas.
 
"We want to see communities to grow emotionally, spiritually and physically through harnessing the gifts, talents and resources of local communities, including the training of new potential leaders."
 
ATG asks for prayer as it holds its next forum on 24 February, when the focus will be on issues of language and communication.
 
Eve Vernon, a programme adviser with the Anglican mission agency Us (formerly USPG), has been working with ACT.
 
She said: "Us has worked with churches in the West Indies for nearly 300 years. So we are happy to join with the Diocese of Jamaica as they explore new contextual ways of community engagement. Us has funded training for ACT in methods of community engagement, also bringing together development workers from Us-supported programmes in Ghana, India, Lesotho and South Africa."
 
PHOTO: Anglicans helped to set up August Town Rugby Football Club, nicknamed the Wolverines, which is helping youth to express and contain anger and frustration in safe ways.

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