With a history of service and mission, Anglicans at St Andrew’s Parish are standing on the shoulders of giants as they continue their outreach and respond to those most in need.
The church was established in 1664 at the heart of Kingston, Jamaica, and is still very much the centre of the community.
St Andrew’s Settlement is just one of the many projects run by the church. It is based in the deprived area of Majesty Gardens in Kingston, and has been running since 1965.
Majesty Gardens houses over 7000 residents, 1500 of whom are children. The settlement also serves two other communities: Hunts Bay and Payne Avenue.
The team at St Andrew’s Settlement say, “The key objective of our programmes is to educate, challenge and plant seeds of transformation in the hearts and minds of members of the community.”
Four branches of outreach work ensure that the community is cared for holistically, and that the full needs of every individual are acknowledged – education, health care, nutrition, counselling and care for the young and elderly are all part of the work of the settlement.
The key focus for the settlement now is to expand their Basic School (pictured below), which provides an early education programme for young children.
Many of the children would not have an education if it were not for St Andrew’s Settlement, and yet many can not afford the school fees; the community is low-income and has high levels of unemployment.
Executive Director of St Andrew’s Settlement, Patrick Newman, invited Christina Manning from the Anglican Alliance to the settlement and into the community to meet some of the people who have benefitted from the programmes.
A young man who used to attend the youth club proudly displayed his income initative and showed the visitors his nine pigs, seven goats and thriving chickens, which he was breeding to sell at the market.
Shana, pictured right (on the left), runs the farm and cares for the animals, with the help of an eager group of youth from the community.
The work of St Andrew’s Settlement is so successful that St Andrew’s Foundation has now been set up in order to raise consistent funds for the sustainability and growth of the programmes.
St Andrew’s Parish Foundation aim to hold two key events a year to attract donors and encourage long-term support of the settlement.
The Foundation has been set up and managed by Mr George Briggs who is investing his creativity and tireless energy to keep St Andrew’s mission alive.
One of the biggest challenges now faced by the settlement is not only how best they reach their community, but how they integrate their community into their work and ensure that every individual is pursuing positive change.
Christine, who manages community development, said, “We are looking for a shift from welfare (simply giving help to the people) to complete community transformation.”
Christine wants to see the community have ownership of their development and take responsibility for their role in the change they wanted to see. The group are working on engaging their community to see total transformation on a large and long-term scale.
There is a lot of work to be done but with such an inspiring and determined team, and a committed and mission-minded church, there is no doubt that the community will continue to be well-served by St Andrew’s Parish.
In the headline picture: A key group of staff and helpers keep St Andrew’s Settlement running.