Some of the National School Chaplains for the 2019-20 school year along with Senior Minister Amory (seated third from right) and PS Dublin-Collins (seated third from left). SKNIS Photo.

Approximately 25 church leaders from St. Kitts and Nevis received their instruments of appointment for the National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP) n Thursday, at a retreat held at the Sugar Bay Club Conference Room.

The NSCP is an initiative of the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs that provides support for students, teachers and parents in personal, moral, emotional and spiritual development matters.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Ron Dublin-Collins, said that the retreat was a follow up to a request from the spiritual leaders to provide an additional forum where outcomes from the January 2019 launch can be examined in greater detail and expectations for the 2019-20 school year can be clearly communicated, particularly to new members.

“Today’s forum seeks to further strengthen the National School Chaplaincy Programme and to seek greater opportunities for ministering successfully to our students,” he said.

Senior Minister and Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Honourable Vance Amory, expressed pleasure with the growing number of church leaders that have embraced the NSCP across St. Kitts and Nevis.

“This chaplaincy programme, and your involvement, is to help us to strengthen and give solid support to the school system of St. Kitts and Nevis, and our involvement is not to change what transpires in terms of the school curriculum, but to add a new dimension which will make our schools and the students and the teachers, if they are willing to accept it … see that there is benefit in strengthening their spiritual selves, … and to make certain that that connection to the homes of our children will strengthen and benefit our communities,” Amory said.

He added his belief that exposure to moral and spiritual instruction can make a real difference in the lives of persons and will help to make a kinder society with clear reductions in antisocial elements and negative behaviours, even for those that come from troubled homes.

“This is what I want us to begin to get our children to begin to think about and to embrace that you, as a child of God, based on our Christian principles … even if they are not Christian, even if they are Muslims … that there is a better way, that there is hope if we reach out for that love and that kind of gentler approach to living,” the senior minister said.

Some of the topics covered at the retreat included HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine Programme in Schools, Ministering to Children, Skills for Chaplaincy, Guidelines for the NSCP, and a general discussion on the Implementation of NSCP 2019.

The new school year begins on Sept. 2. Some 50 church leaders are enrolled as School Chaplains for the new school year.