Honourable Vance Amory. SKNIS Photo.

The National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP) offers a perfect opportunity for the church to play a greater role in shaping the future of St. Kitts and Nevis Senior Minister and Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Honourable Vance Amory said Thursday, Aug. 29 at a Retreat to review the NSCP and to prepare for the 2019-20 school year.

“The church has been seen as the last resort. Only when something distressful happens we turn to the church as the go to,” Senior Minister Amory said. “Is it too late? [It’s] never too late, but our approach must be that we will seek through the involvement of you, as pastors in the chaplaincy programme in our school system, interacting through the teachers, with the teachers, to the homes that we can change the direction and eradicate [or reduce] the negativity and the antisocial behaviour which have plagued our country over the years.”

The NSCP, launched in 2019 as an initiative of the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, is designed to provide support for students, teachers and parents in personal, moral, emotional and spiritual development matters.

“One time we had the difficulty of teachers saying that ‘we don’t want assemblies in our schools. Assemblies are a waste of time’,” he said, recalling a situation from his own experience as the headmaster of the Charlestown Secondary School. “And I remember going to the staff room and we had a meeting shortly after I heard that kind of comment from leaders, senior teachers, graduates, and said to them in that meeting there will be no debate on the matter. Now it might sound as if I was being dictatorial but really and truly, I was affirming one thing that we will not discuss the removal of the things of God and spiritual things from our schools.”

The senior minister assured the government’s commitment to the NSCP and the he was pleased with the eagerness that church leaders continue to show for the programme.

The Retreat was held at the Sugar Bay Club Conference Room in Frigate Bay. Topics included the 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.