Louise Swinton (second left), touches the head of her daughter, Brittany during the presentation of her new wheelchair during the Assistive Technology and Mental Health Symposium at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester on Mar. 9, 2023. From left are: Pastor Adrian Cotterell, possibility ministries coordinator, Jamaica Union, Mrs. Judith Forbes, assistant Sabbath school director of Jamaica Union, and Britany’s dad, Michael Swinton. [Photo: Nigel Coke]

March 13, 2023 | Mandeville, Jamaica | Nigel Coke and Inter-American Division Staff

Dozens of members of the disabilities community in Jamaica benefited from free medical check-ups and assistive devices and presentations on mental health, psychiatry and ophthalmology during an Assistive and Mental Health Symposium held at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester from March 5-12, 2023.

The symposium formed part of a week of the annual Possibility Ministries Awareness week, organized by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica.

“The week calls attention to the Adventist Church community and the wider community to this often-forgotten group of persons by the society of their rights and the need to accord them similar privileges to experience joy, happiness, liberty and contentment,” said Pastor Adrian Cotterell, possibility ministries coordinator of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica.

Monique Ingram of Comcare Optical attends to Jamie McKoy, a member of the deaf community during the Assistive Technology and Mental Health Symposium at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester on Mar. 9, 2023. [Photos by Nigel Coke]

Recent statistics show that around 200,000 Jamaicans live with a disability, but the numbers are disproportionately affected by poverty and unemployment.

A beneficiary of the week’s activities was the Mustard Seed Community: Gift of Hope, which cares for 27 physically and mentally disabled residents. The organization received a visit of their institution on by a team from the church and were presented with much needed toiletries.

“The visit to our institution was an exceptional one and we were really happy for the donation received,” said Ann Parker-Dale, administrator of the Gift of Hope, who attended the symposium along with other representatives and a resident of the institution. “I have learnt so much from this symposium that I will be able to go back to make their lives a lot better.’ Parker-Dale spoke to the psychiatrist, the ophthalmologist, and medical doctor and promised to enhance the delivery of care to the residents.

General Practioner Dr. Bongelo Gombale attends to 78 year-old Azalee Abrahams during the Assistive Technology and Mental Health Symposium [Photo: Nigel Coke]

Michael and Louise Swinton were happy to receive a new wheelchair for their 26-year-old daughter Britanny.

“I am happy for this wheelchair,” said Mrs. Swinton.  “My child is not comfortable in the current one because the tires are not so good.” Swinton said the new one is solid and pretty. “She looks good in it. I love it and I really appreciate this one. Thank you very much and may you continue to be a blessing to others.”

The special Possibilities Ministries week began with the planting of trees in many areas across the island, visits to infirmaries and place-of-care for the disabled, prayer and church services, a symposium, and a grand convention on Mar.12 at the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Catherine.

Judith Forbes (left), assistant Sabbath school director of the Jamaican Union, presents some special disabilities footwear to Collette Richards, social worker of the Manchester Comprehensive Clinic, Mental Health Department, during the Assistive Technology and Mental Health Symposium [Photo: Nigel Coke]

“Disability has no boundaries,” exclaimed Cotterell. “It has no face or race. It has no color or creed, it has no religion or denomination. Disability may affect anyone at any time and so, I appeal to our members and the wider society to show more love, patience, and kindness to members of the disabled community.”

While most people refer to ministering to persons with disability as Disability Ministries, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has decided on the nomenclature Possibility Ministries, which recognizes the potentials, promises, possibilities, life-changing and transformational outcomes that can take place when persons from the disabilities community are involved in the activities of the church and society.

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