Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Boulevard Baptist banks on youth for future

Published:Monday | February 11, 2019 | 12:21 AM
Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security, greets Dr Patricia Dunwell, custos of St Andrew, at Boulevard Baptist Church’s celebration of 50 years of ministry on Sunday. Looking on is the Rev Dr Devon Dick, pastor of the Washington Boulevard-based church.

Youth evangelism and empowerment will underpin Boulevard Baptist Church’s programmes as it seeks to ramp up its service to the community, the Rev Dr Devon Dick has said.

Speaking with The Gleaner moments after a service on Sunday celebrating the congregation’s 50th anniversary, the pastor of the Washington Boulevard church said that Baptists were endeavouring to integrate better with society and offer ministry that was not only spiritual, but social.

Dick highlighted sports as a key avenue to reaching the nation’s youth. The church also broke ground for a recording studio that is due to be completed by year end.

“Ground being broken here today is for a music studio and music room so the young people and others can go to record their own music. Once it is built, it will produce material that is inspiring and uplifting. The music room will be for those who want to learn to play music,” Dick told The Gleaner yesterday.

“We also have a sports programme that brings young people together to play sports on our multipurpose court. We also have a soup kitchen,” Dick, also an author and weekly columnist for The Gleaner, added. “We also give out food baskets and give out scholarships every year. We also help the Maverley Primary and other schools.

Yesterday, Boulevard Baptist kick-started celebratory activities for its 50th anniversary with a church service attended by scores, including National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, his opposition counterpart, Fitz Jackson, and former prime minister Bruce Golding. The church has been in operation since February 9, 1969.

But the church won’t be resting on its laurels, said Dick, who has pastored the congregation for the past 29 years.

“We have added hundreds of persons to the church through baptism. We have transformed lives and we are making a difference in the community,” he told The Gleaner.

“We have a literacy programme where we teach persons. We have been in collaboration with HEART Trust/NTA since the ‘90s. People are qualified as chefs. We also have a dental clinic where we give people dental servicers at a reduced cost.”

The Reverend Karen Kirlew, who created history in becoming the first female president of the Jamaica Baptist Union, said that Boulevard Baptist Church “understands what it means to carry out the mission of God”.

“Through its programmes, ministries, and outreach, it has been serving the community in a way that reflects our theme, ‘Being God’s People in God’s World’,” Kirlew, who delivered the sermon, told The Gleaner after the service.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com