The church often has an impact on the community, and in Lochaber Village, West Canje, Berbice, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church does its part in galvanising the relationship with community members.
Bernadette Philips is a member of the church and also the Treasurer and oversees operations of the Community Service Department within the congregation.
She disclosed that annually, between January and February, that arm of the church would go out into the community and they would solicit funds for humanitarian projects.
“A lot of times the church members would put their own money and whatever the people in the village donate it would add up and do a lot such as assisting the sick, pay for medical assistance and offer donations if there is a death in the village towards the funeral expenses,” she said.
“Bernie,” as she is fondly called, is well-known in Lochaber Village and she has been involved in church work for more than 20 years and she finds it to be fulfilling, because they have reached out to a lot of people who are thankful.
Philips stated that there are 30 active members in the church on roll, but they have about 50 members in total and the community and church have good relations.
She pointed out that every five years, the pastor of the church would change.
Philips related that the church did a project with the Lochaber Primary School and they constructed the canteen and would yearly donate trophies to the top performers.
In addition, the church also distributed a sanitation hamper to every household this year and they would often visit the sick and shut-ins and make a donation of a food basket.
Philips is originally from California, East Bank Berbice, but moved to Lochaber Village when she got married and has been there for 29 years.
She likes the small village and its quiet peacefulness and also noted that it is a very safe place to live, because the people live in harmony.
“To maintain good relations with the community, we have to continue to make strides in our humanitarian drive,” she said.
The New Generational Rise International Ministry Church
Meanwhile, the other church in Lochaber Village is the New Generational Rise International Ministry and the pastor is Adrian Austin.
Pastor Austin told the Pepperpot Magazine that the church’s founder is Indradai Budhan, who hails from Vryheid Village and the church was established 10 years ago.
He reported that on Sunday last they had a harvest and birth-anniversary celebration for the founder, Indradai Budhan, who celebrated her 80th. The people of the village were invited and they showed up.
Austin added that the women’s arm of the church was responsible for pulling off the event and it was a success and the 15 members did well as usual.
He reported that the church is expected to partner with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to embark on several community-based projects and he has only been at the church as the pastor for eight months.
Austin stated that he is in the getting-to-know stage still and is hoping to grow out of that, because there is so much to be done.
“The church is opened to all, even those of different religious beliefs and I would reach out to as many people as I can,” he said.
Being the recipient of a scholarship, he is aiming to get the same for two persons in the village, because the church would like to assist all, including young people.
Austin told the Pepperpot Magazine that in March next year the church is planning to have its 10th-anniversary celebrations and they would like to invite the villagers where public servants such as teachers, doctors, nurses and UG students will be awarded for their contributions to society.
He is also hoping to establish an alumni association and they have been counselling the youths of Angoy’s Avenue (Cow Dam) and their objective is to reform youths in that depressed community.
Austin related that the church also has a charity aspect and they have since partnered with another church, New Christian Flow Ministry, a U.S.-based church headed by Pastor Dwayne Waterman.
That church has been donating towards the charity drive and it has brought value to the community.