(seated left to right) Acting Governor-General His Excellency Michael Morton and Mrs. Morton, Senior Minister Amory, and Permanent Secretary Ron Dublin-Collins with awardees.

Government officials and members of the church fraternity came together Thursday at Government House to celebrate, encourage, recognize, and join in fellowship and applaud the community service of five Christian organizations recognized as this year’s recipients of the Third Annual Ecclesiastical Affairs Outstanding Community Outreach Awards.

The Faith Tabernacle Church of God Ministries, Gideon St. Kitts Camp, Methodist Radio Network, Moravian Church (Bethesda-New Dawn), and the Rivers of Living Water Christian Centre were all recognized by the award programme, organized by the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs, designed to deepen the relationship between faith-based institutions and the community they serve.

Senior Minister and Minister responsible for Ecclesiastical Affairs, the Honourable Vance Amory, congratulated the evening’s awardees, noting the work that is undertaken by churches around St. Kitts and Nevis is having a real impact.

“We can look to the period of peace which we have had in the last eight to 10 months,” Senior Minister Amory stated, referring to the Peace Initiative between rival gangs and the establishment of alternative engagement opportunities for at-risk youth.

Several members of the church community are directly involved in the Peace Initiative, acting as liaisons between the security forces and the gangs. Other churches have introduced activities such as after school programmes to engage young people. Further, the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs has received tremendous support from churches for its National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP, launched in January 2019 to provide support for students, teachers and parents in personal, moral, emotional and spiritual development matters.

Honourable Amory thanked church membership for the “ongoing prayers and support for the policies of the government to ensure that we have an environment in our communities [where] peace abounds, and we can live in safety,” and said the awards stand as a tangible representation of the government’s support for the excellent work being carried out by the faith-based institutions and is designed to encourage other agencies involved in similar activities.