Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | October 12, 2009
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POSITIVE Parenting - Vision of Pastor Morgan and his family - Part I
Emma Dalton-Brown, Gleaner Writer

Southside community mothers hanging out together on Tower Street. - Contributed photos

Twelve years ago, in-between sessions at a church conference in downtown Kingston, Carrington Morgan, his two brothers and their mother, Dr Patricia Morgan, walked to the waterfront. They noticed a group of 13-year-old boys frolicking in the harbour. They struck up conversations with these lads and Dr Pat (as she is called) established a deep connection with them that remains today.

She returned each day of the conference, inviting them to join her. She'd then feed them and take them back to their community in Southside. When the conference was over, Dr Pat brought them to her uptown church, eventually to have Sunday dinner at home with her sons and husband, Bishop Peter Morgan.

A few years later, the family sent the same teenagers (numbering about 17) to Christ for the Nations, a small educational institution in Montego Bay. They went there for one year.

Then in 2004, Bishop Morgan, with the help of his son, now Pastor Carrington Peter Morgan Jr, opened an office in Southside. The bishop oversees different ministries, but this has given him a central place from which to work for the last five years. He and his family also started to walk through the community, every Sunday in his free time. This is when they were reunited with the same young men from the harbour!

Stemming from these Sunday walks, and Pastor Carrington's devotion to the people of Southside, City Life Ministries was launched in January 2005. Carrington's vision has been to establish empowerment programmes, such as the I-61 Project Management Programme, which teaches the men leadership skills. They focus on the men of the community, encouraging them to take responsibility for everyone in their neighbourhood.

Deadbeat dads

I asked Carrington why it seemed that so many men in Jamaica had become deadbeats, with no education, no job and no sense of duty towards their children. He related a story about a large organisation that went into a downtown community. Television cameras were there, the CEO of the company came in, and there was a big giveaway. Kids and women pushed up to receive it all, but the men sat back on the wall watching. The corporation had good intentions, but it did nothing to empower the traditional providers. Children will, therefore, never go to their fathers for anything that they need. The men in the area ought to have been the ones to dole out the contributions.

The other side is the pressure of responsibility. A woman will get the job done even when her man won't. She must impress upon the man to stand up and be the go-getter. Females in Jamaica innately 'baby' all males. They'll say, 'Tek care of yuh man!'

Carrington is trying to improve this situation, and so his position in Southside is to facilitate the roles of individuals there. For example, when a child needs nappies, Carrington tells the mother to go to her man. If no father exists, go to the 'elder' who has access to the resource. He will then come to Carrington, who will get the item from 'outside' and give it to him to distribute. "I want these men to see how it feels to play their part," says Pastor Carrington, who refers to himself as a "facilitator of the way of life".

Everyone responds to Carrington, who is always relaxed and casually dressed in jeans.

"Very few would shut me out," he says. "Everything I do, I do inside the community. That's when you get the transformation of the community. Teach them in their environment. They respect that you care about it and them."

NEXT WEEK: Find out how Susan Dougall and her daughter, Anna, have become deeply involved in the Southside community.

For more information about City Life Ministries, contact:

PO Box 5739, Kingston 6.

Tel: 978-9101

Email: info@citylifeministries.org

Website: www.citylifeministries.org


Patrick Stanigar (left) and Bishop Peter Morgan.

Pastor Carrington Peter Morgan Jr (left) and Julian Anderson, a programme volunteer.

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