Jamaica and the Cayman Islands
Last month, the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI) hosted the fortieth national gathering of their denomination. The national event for 2017, known as Synod, introduced the theme “Renewal and Transformation: Discipleship for Life”, which will guide the next four years as UCJCI members engage in a process of analyzing opportunities and activities in the fields of education, resource management, and plan implementation. Additionally, suggested themes for the three-year cycle beginning in 2018 are as follows:
- Evangelism, Mission, Advocacy, and Caregiving
- Costs, Stewardship, Fellowship, and Youth and Children
- Worship, Word, and Family Spirituality
Another portion of the fortieth Synod gathering was devoted to the Synod Youth Forum, represented by members serving on regional councils and at the national levels. Youth education, camps, and other activities comprise a large portion of UCJCI events and outreach programs. Youth ministries are continuing to expand throughout the denomination.
Soon youth and adults alike will benefit from the installation of new positions within the Church’s leadership. Trained volunteers known as Mission Enablers will be assigned to each regional council with the goal of helping congregations achieve their missional objectives. Emphasis will be given to missions that directly affect the growth and development of ministries, such as children’s, women’s, and men’s ministries.
Communications for every area of ministry have also been addressed at recent UCJCI conferences. The Chair of the Committee of Strategic Planning for Ministry and Mission, Reverend Norbert Stephens, who also serves as the General Secretary, reported that UCJCI communications have improved immensely over the past year. He described communications as a “critical area in the Church’s life and witness” in which the essence of the Church is shared both internally and externally. New part-time staff have been hired to oversee the radio programs United in Faith (broadcast from Jamaica) and Worship the Lord (broadcast from the Cayman Islands). Both programs have been redesigned recently. A new publication was created for the congregations participating in the Church School Ministry called The Ethos of the United Church. Printed and electronic communications of UCJCI have also been reformatted to be more visually appealing and user-friendly. UCJCI’s newsletter (UCJCI Update), website, and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) have all been enhanced.