Youth gather on Wednesday evenings at Fruitful Vale “Feed and Seed” to eat, share Bible stories and play games.
Gifts to PAPAS Ministries Helps Local Pastors in Ministry
By Sandra Brands*
On a day set aside to give back to others, United Methodists donated more than $15,000 to Pastors and Priests Available for Service (PAPAS) Ministries, Advance #3021286 on UMC #Giving Tuesday last year.
“Those gifts took some of the stress off of faithful Jamaicans who have been funding ministry out of their own pocket,” said the Rev. Kay Pratt, co-founder with her husband, the Rev. Merlin Pratt, of the ecumenical PAPAS Ministries.
“The stress load is heavy,” Pratt said, “especially as many, even the Methodists, try to keep church buildings physically viable … and to be able to pay for transportation. Many preachers don’t have vehicles, so they charter taxis on Sundays just to get them to their congregations.”
Many of them, according to Pratt, are local preachers or lay speakers. Currently, there are 43 active pastors serving 172 churches on 27 circuits, which include about 12,000 members and adherents. “Methodist ministers here in Jamaica are extremely overloaded,” she said.
For more than 500 years, Jamaica has been in mission and ministry with sisters and brothers from outside the Caribbean country. “We can ‘help the church be the church,’ but this can only happen with real hands-on training that will take years of hard work with foreign missionaries working in the background, and allowing dedicated indigenous preachers and leaders to continue totake the forefront,”said Pratt.
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission teams visiting from the United States have worked to make buildings accessible for those with disabilities, trained Sunday school and Vacation Bible School teachers, offered classes in parenting and music, and supported other training events and construction costs.
Donations Support a Variety of Ministries
Donations from last year’s UMC #GivingTuesday campaign provided milk for school lunches throughout Jamaica, installed a sewer system at St. Peter’s Methodist Church in Hellshire and St. Catherine — a new church start — and funded repairs to the Methodist Primary School on the Port Antonio Circuit.
In addition, handicap ramps were built at two churches and supplies were provided at basic and primary schools, as well as a Vacation Bible School. PAPAS Ministries even helped develop a children’s choir and sponsored last year’s Christmas Cantata, which toured the Port Antonio Circuit.
UMC #GivingTuesday also allowed PAPAS Ministries to start a new phase of ministry: establishing The Sheffield Methodist Education and Resource Centre, PAPAS’ new headquarters.
The Centre, Pratt said, “is being birthed to reach out with practical and tangible means so people might come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Monies received through #UMC Giving Tuesday allowed us to repurpose a former Methodist Primary School facility, and make structural and modeling repairs to make the facility green by using wind and solar energy. We will also provide a new media center with up-to-date technology, a ‘Stationary Shop’ where school children can access school supplies, and an up-to-date kitchen to provide meals for day camp and family camping needs.”
#UMC GivingTuesday, Dec. 2
This year, Global Ministries will again provide matching grants, up to $1 million**, for online donations made to any project through The Advance as part of UMC #GivingTuesday, Dec. 2, “When Methodists Are United.” One hundred percent of gifts given go to projects designated by the donor through The Advance, The United Methodist Church’s giving channel.
For resources to promote and share UMC #GivingTuesday click here.
*Sandra Brands is a writer and regular contributor to www.umcmission.org.
**Global Ministries will allocate the matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on Dec. 2, 2014, between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. EST. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. A project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds.