A church is not a space for the morally sound to relax and listen to the gospel. A church is for those who are spiritually wounded to seek refuge, find peace and learn how to live better lives.
These were the sentiments Reverend Bishop Claude Berkley shared at the naming and blessing of the Church of the Transfiguration Maloney Mission.
The church on Flamingo Boulevard, Maloney Gardens, was opened on Carnival Saturday – the weekend before Lent – as that time signifies a period of transfiguration for individuals in the Anglican Faith.
"Given the issues of our nation, murder, crime, violence, domestic violence, corrupt tendencies and practice, marginalised persons of little or no means, misdirected young people, poor parenting in some instances, challenged family life and living, persons who are seeking a new way of life and looking for options, new diseases upon us, and the list is long.
"We cannot do everything, but we can respond to the urgent needs of the community around us. We have not constructed a church that looks nice. We are comfortable and very cool, and we can lay back and cross our legs and listen to the gospel. But it is not a place of comfort for the people who can contribute more. It is a place that lives the life of Jesus who said I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners who are repentant," Rev Berkley said.
He hopes the church will be a place where Sunday school, youth groups and other programmes not just educate people on the way of God, but provide a space where help can be given.
"Giving them other options for life and living. Our young people do not want to go down the way they have gone, but they have nothing to give them another option. Can the Maloney Mission provide this leadership? We cannot do all that needs to be done, but we can do the most pressing issues and make a difference."
He said, while it is up to the St Mary's Parish Tacarigua to determine if the church will be open outside of church hours for the space to be a refuge to those in need, he hopes the organisers are able to rise to the challenge to provide a safe space and comfort for the community to learn how to transform themselves into better citizens.