United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

UCJCI Update

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MODERATOR LAUNCHES THE 42ND UCJCI SYNOD

Thursday Feb 25, 2021
 
The 42nd Synod of th United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands was officially launched at the Ash Wednesday Day of Fellowship Worship events.
In a video presentation shared in all Regions, the plans for the upcoming Synod were outlined by the UCJCI Moderator, Rt. Rev. Gordon Cowans. The Synod has found us in uncharterd waters. We are holding a Synod amidst a pandemic, requirning us to abide b strict protocols of limitations on the number of persons gathering in a space, physical distancing, wearing of masks, hand sanitizing and minimum physical contact.
He continue; "The theme for this Synod is 'Rooted, Resilient: Responding in HOPE', and in this regard HOPE means Health, Opportunity, Peace and Evangelism. The call is to be Rooted,Resilient, and Responding by offering HOPE through health, opportunities,peace and evangelism." 

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A SHOT IN THE ARM The Case for COVID-19 Vaccine for All

Wednesday Feb 17, 2021
 
The news that Jamaica, as one of the
countries that is part of the Covid-19
Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, is
set to receive its first doses of the AstraZeneca
vaccine this month is welcome relief. The Government has previously indicated that vaccines would
not be available before April 2021, with a target of
vaccinating 16% of the population by the end of 2021.
Given the widespread nature of COVID-19, its mutation and
the exponential rise in cases in Jamaica over the last few
weeks, the need for a vaccine is fundamental to bringing the
virus under control. This would allow for a reduction in the
infection rate and usher in a positive movement towards
achieving herd immunity.

Beyond The Pulpit - Fasting in a Feasting Culture
On this Ash Wednesday, as the Christian Church once
again observes the beginning of Lent, a 40-day fast in
preparation for Easter, we do so in emulation of
Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness before he began his
public ministry. Fasting as defined by the Encyclopaedia
Britannica is the “abstinence from food or drink or both for
health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes”. 

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UCJCI DONATES 155 TABLETS FOR EDUCATION

Wednesday Feb 10, 2021
 
155 tablets have been donated by the United Church in partnership with Council for World Mission (CWM) to children across Jamaica at the primary school level.
With the onset of COVID 19, CWM offered funds, through its COVID19 Mission Initiative Fund, to assist churches and partners in the
mission initiatives they are taking in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as a means of offering solidarity, witness and care.
Applications were invited for work in community which would address needs of vulnerable groups which could include the recently
unemployed, victims of domestic violence, health care workers, children in education and other areas deemed fit. 

READY, SET, GO...GET READY TO SERVE- - Training of Lay Leaders Resumes 
Re-branded UCJCI Lay Leaders Certificate Course, training for lay leaders in the United
Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands resumes on Saturday February 13, 2021 and continues on 2nd
and 4th Saturdays each month for the next 6 months. In 2020, UCJCI launched a re-vamped programme to prepare laity
(members of the church who are not part of the clergy) for the role of leadership through a systematic
approach to training in areas considered pertinent to the exercise of ministry in the church and community.

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SEEK PEACE, HARMONY AND GOODWILL

Wednesday Feb 03, 2021
 
In preparing this brief reflection, I engaged a colleague
minister on the topic. Consequently, some of the thoughts
expressed here, while I am in concert with them, did not
originate with me.
According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Jamaica
recorded 1,301 killings in 2020 and had the region's highest
homicide rate at 46.5 per 100,000 people. Note that the United
Nations considers any homicide rate of 10 per 100,000 citizens
or above to be an “epidemic.” It would not be far-fetched to
state that COVID-19 is not the only pandemic we are currently
facing.
“NIDS is not the Mark of the Beast.”
The National Identification System (NIDS) has been on the
lips of many Jamaicans here and in the diaspora in recent
years. Much work, time and money have been invested in
the project. While there were those who were advocating
for its implementation, there was much disquiet in the
society as concerns were expressed regarding the
invasiveness of some of the measures outlined in the Bill;
privacy issues, biblical and theological misgivings, among
other issues. 

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ROOTED, RESILIENT: RESPONDING IN H.O.P.E.

Wednesday Jan 27, 2021
 
The theme for the 42nd Synod of the United
Church in Jamaica and the Cayman
Islands was approved by The Central
Mission Council, at it’s sitting in November 2020.
The theme, which will be launched at the Ash
Wednesday Day of Fellowship, is a declaration of
defiance that, despite COVID 19 or any other calamity
brought on the modern world, the United Church will
actively pursue HOPE – Health, Opportunities, Peace
and Evangelism by remaining rooted and working
towards resilience.
BEYOND THE PULPIT-Are You Concerned About the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought tremendous
suffering, devastation and death upon the land. All areas
of human life and relationships have been impacted by
this health tragedy, at both the local and global level. 

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WOMEN ON THE MARCH FOR CHRIST

Wednesday Jan 20, 2021
 
While we face the continued uncertainties of the day,
we are constantly assured of God’s everlasting love
and faithfulness to us. God reminds us in
Deuteronomy 31, verse 6: “Be strong and
courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave
you or forsake you”. What a tremendous promise! God did not
promise that we would never have challenges in our lives, but the
assurance is that God will remain with us, no matter what we are
going through.
BEYOND THE PULPIT-The Abortion Debate
Throughout the centuries there have always been
different life issues that have generated dialogue and
debate. Most recently across the world, and currently
in Jamaica, the topic of abortion has sparked heated
debates between the Church and society. 

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TRANSFORMING THE WORLD THROUGH THE FAMILY - BUILDING THE FAMILY ALTAR

Wednesday Jan 13, 2021
 
The work to provide material for worship and Christian education in
households emphasizes UCJCI’s conviction to seek transformation of the
world through Christ. 
Each week, a liturgy, or order of worship, is prepared by the House Liturgy Team. The material
follows the worship themes set out by the Synod for use in congregations. The liturgy is adaptable
to different home settings— living room, around the dining table, the verandah, the garden or
yard. It is interactive and contains elements for different age groups. It fosters discussion and
activity to facilitate deeper understanding. There are object lessons which incorporate items in the
home to explain concepts. 

JANUARY IS WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP MONTH 
The United Church Women’s Fellowship will launch their activities
for 2021 with Fellowship Week, Sunday, January 24 to 30,2021.
All congregations are encouraged to focus on the Women’s Fellowship on that Sunday.
During Fellowship Week, the ladies will be engaged in a range
of activities throughout Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

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FACING THE NEW YEAR WITH RESILIENCE— FI WI GOD GREAT FI TRUE!

Wednesday Jan 06, 2021
 
God’s Word had been clear and continues to be clear as to how
people ought to live to promote health, wellbeing and fulfillment in the whole
human race. The Prophet Micah in chapter 6:8, declares it as succinctly as ever, what does the Lord require
of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. To make this New
Year truly new and different, the church and every Christian, every person must hear
and heed this call to justice, mercy and humility. You and I have it within us to help to
usher in a new normal in which our neighbour’s wellbeing is as important to us as
our own. A new normal in which all our childrenbecome increasing safe
because we play our role in that village that it takes to raise a child.

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THE MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS

Wednesday Dec 23, 2020
 
The miracle of Christmas is the
wonderful love of God which was
poured out into this world and into
every heart that is ready to receive Jesus.
He is the love of God in human form, the
Love Incarnate, the embodiment of God’s
love.
The love of God, Jesus, breathes life into the
deepest part of our broken and wayward hearts. It
changes and transforms us into a new being, a new
creation. How comforting and empowering to know,
to embrace, and be embraced by this amazing love.

THE UCJCI ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM
CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS-
Consider Your Response

The Synod Administrative team paused to
celebrate the Christmas season in a 
celebration planned by the Human and
Mission Resource Unit, which combined a
carol service, candle lighting, Christmas
games, affirmations and lunch. All Regional
offices joined in virtually and so did some
members of staff from the central office in
order to ensure physical distancing protocols
could be observed. 

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YOUTUBE CHRISTMAS PRODUCTION FEATURES THE WORK OF REV. H. EARL THAMES

Wednesday Dec 16, 2020
 
The Unspeakable Gift is a production of the United Church
in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands which features the creative work of Rev.
H. Earl Thames, the House Church writing team and the Performing Arts
Ministry of the United Church. Rev. Thames, known as a fierce advocate
for youth, was a prolific writer. His work, ‘Zachariah and the Gift with the String’ was
penned in the 90‘s. This work has been paired with the liturgy for worship at home
which has been prepared for Christmas Day. The liturgy was written by Dr. Jane
Dodman, a member of the House Church Writing task group. Both written materials
will now be translated into film and will be available on the United Church You Tube
channel on Christmas Day at 6 p.m.
BRYCE UNITED CALLS FOR ACTION-Support Education for Empowerment and Liberation
The call for help for students facing
difficulty accessing education has not
fallen on deaf ears. At his induction
service to the Bryce charge of churches
on September 27, 2020, Rev. Gary
Harriott, appealed to the community and
two months later a member responded by
donating 12 tablets.

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United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands