THE Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica says it is seeking to grow the membership of its Pathfinder youth development movement and to reinvigorate programme clubs to pre-COVID-19 activity levels.
The church will be using the fifth staging of its Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventist Churches Camporee, set for the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium from April 4 to 8, to springboard that effort, its executive noted at this week’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.
Youth ministries director for the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Dane Fletcher says the COVID-19 pandemic has had adverse effects on the vibrancy and growth of the movement.
“Before COVID we would have been upwards of 15,000 in Jamaica but we might be about 50 per cent now because some of the clubs that were very vibrant are now dormant,” he said.
Fletcher was among representatives of the church, led by Pastor Everett Brown, who outlined details of the five-day regional event which will be hosted by Jamaica for the first time in its 25-year history.
The youth ministries director urged youth in the Pathfinder age cohort (10-15 years), including those with or without other denominational affiliations, to enlist in the programme.
He called for the society as a whole to embrace the Pathfinder programme as a pathway to holistic development: “The Pathfinder programme isn’t just for Seventh-day Adventists, it is for young people from our communities. Once their parents agree with allowing them to be a part of the experience we are more than happy to welcome them, and the Pathfinder programme involves a strong relation between the leadership of the Pathfinder club and the parents.”
Fletcher stressed that there is room for interested individuals, outside of the church, to make meaningful contributions to the development of youth enrolled in the programme.
“There is space for just about everybody in the Pathfinder ministry. It doesn’t matter your profession — there is something that you can transmit to the youth. A part of the Pathfinder programme is mentorship so that we can guide the youth into various avenues where they can explore to realise the greatest of their potential. It helps to unearth talent and potential,” he outlined.
Administrative assistant, Chantell Guthrie noted: “The Pathfinder ministry is not only for baptised Seventh-day Adventists, it’s open to non-Adventists as well. And also, persons who are currently not part of a Pathfinder club at their church can also attend the Camporee because one of the aims is to also motivate so that they can leave Camporee energised to start or revive a Pathfinder club at their local church.”
It is anticipated that between 12,000 to 15,000 youth and other stakeholders from across the region are expected to gather at the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium for the event, which is held every five years.