President of the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC), Rev. Dr. Paul Gardner, has called on the leadership of congregations across Jamaica to respond to the needs of persons affected by the civil disturbance in West Kingston.
“It is a time for volunteerism and we call upon our people, inside and outside the church, to assist those people who have been affected in this operation,” Dr. Gardener said.
“It is going to take a lot of work on the part of all of us. A lot of work will have to be done in counseling the residents of Tivoli, and I am hoping that the church will be able to assist in that venture,” he stated.
Dr. Gardner announced that the JCC will establish a hotline by the end of the week, to enable a swift response to the needs of these persons.
“We are trying to set up a telephone hotline in the interim for those people who can call out, so we can offer some measure of telephone counseling. This is not always the most ideal, but it is probably the best we can do in this situation,” he said.
The JCC head also encouraged church leaders to reach out to the children who have been affected in the process.
“A number of the churches operate summer camps, and I would love us to be able to assist some of the youngsters; move them out for a week for the summer camp experience. They would have gone through a traumatic experience and we are sure that the experience will be good for them, psychologically and socially,” he said.
The Rev. Gardner also expressed deep regret at the loss of lives, and said he is hopeful that the country will return to normalcy soon.
“We need a secure country. We need the country to return to a level of security, stability and peace,” he stated.