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Guyana Sunday School and Youth Group Initiative

We have not seen this level of activity and excitement in Kilcoy in a great many years, and it is an absolute delight to experience.
By MARK CARR AND RAFEEK SOOLAMAN
Read Time: 4 minutes

The Truth in Guyana, South America, has a long, rich history, reaching back as far as the earliest days of the birth of our community in the late 1800s. There has been a continual ecclesial presence in Guyana since that time. Today, there are five active ecclesias. Three are in the capital of Georgetown, and two are approximately two hours outside of Georgetown, in the region of Berbice. One of those ecclesias in Berbice is the Kilcoy Ecclesia, and some very exciting growth has been seen lately in this tiny lampstand.

Kilcoy’s personal history mirrors the ebbs and flows of the growth of the Truth in Guyana itself. In the ’70s and ’80s, Kilcoy was a thriving ecclesia, with many brothers and sisters actively proclaiming the gospel to the community around them.

However, over time, economic pressures to find work and a rise in violence and crime, coupled with large-scale immigration of entire families to North America, reduced the membership of Kilcoy to only a handful of members. While witnessing and special lectures continued, the hands to do the work were reduced, and the responses to our proclamation work were less and less.

In 2023, an exciting new initiative was undertaken to create a community Sunday School and Youth Group based in the Kilcoy ecclesial hall. While adults might not often actively respond to the gospel’s message, our experiences holding annual Vacation Bible Schools for children in the community have been highly successful and well attended.

A combined efforts with stunning results

At Kilcoy, their current Sunday School was supported by only two to three young people who are children of members of that ecclesia, with very sporadic CYC Youth Group activities. A combined effort between the brothers and sisters of Kilcoy and the support of a small but very dedicated group of brothers and sisters in North America was undertaken, and the results are stunning.

To give perspective on the size of the Kilcoy ecclesia, there are effectively three active brethren (two of whom are speaking brethren) and five to six sisters (three of whom are Sunday School teachers) running these activities each week. The Sunday School has grown to as many as thirty-two children on a Sunday morning, and the CYC Youth Activities have had as many as fourteen young adults and teenagers on a Saturday afternoon.

All but two of those Sunday School children are community children coming from non-Christadelphian homes. Each Sunday, the numbers are around twenty-three faithful attendees of all ages, forming three very full classes of children using every resource Kilcoy must teach these young people. While any dip in numbers from our peak is completely fine and not unexpected, we have a very good idea of why some children do not or cannot come.

Our Youth Circle activities again have two Christadelphian children, but the rest of the group that attends are also from outside our community. Bro. John and Sis. Dinah Pillion of the Seattle ecclesia have taken in hand to have weekly CYC Zoom classes, with Bible studies geared for young people to teach them the Gospel of Christ.

They have formed an incredible bond with these young adults, and in 2023, we could go to Kilcoy in person and take them on some fun excursions. We’ve been told the attendance is very consistent, and the mature questions coming from these young people about the Bible are very encouraging. 

CBMC, while supporting the efforts through funding for Sunday School books and supplies, has consulted with the brothers and sisters there to explore further how we can assist. Many of the children who attend come from extremely poor and challenging circumstances. Many are very young and live from one to three miles from the ecclesial hall.

The parents are not against the children attending, but they will often not try to ensure they get transportation to the Hall on a Sunday morning. Some young children who would love to come must walk to get to us independently. Compounding this problem is the reality that no members of Kilcoy, until this December, had a personal vehicle to transport the children. All these factors have played into a small decline in attendance.

 

After some thoughtful planning, an appeal to CBMC was made to allocate some funds to purchase a second-hand minibus to be used by the ecclesia to ensure any children who wish to attend can attend. Bro. Rafeek Soolaman and I, co-Links for Guyana, traveled to Berbice together in January with funds in hand to research governmental tax and legal barriers to purchasing a bus.

We were also hoping to secure a quality second-hand bus for the members of the Berbice ecclesias. Finally, we could purchase a quality vehicle at a very reasonable cost to CBMC! Not only will the bus be used for Sunday School and CYC activities on weekends, but it will also strengthen the ties between the second Berbice ecclesia in New Amsterdam, fostering joint ecclesial Memorial Services, Sunday School and many other activities.

We have not seen this level of activity and excitement in Kilcoy in a great many years, and it is an absolute delight to experience. Sometimes, it has been difficult to remain positive through the lack of response to our preaching efforts by the adult community. It has been the young, teachable minds of children that have breathed life into all our work.

The brothers and sisters are building the Kilcoy ecclesia of tomorrow, teaching our children the right ways of God from the outset. If God wills and continues to bless our efforts, perhaps they will grow up to join us as brothers and sisters in our walk to God’s Kingdom.

We ask you to keep these brothers and sisters in your prayers and, where possible, continue to support the important work of the growth of the gospel in these mission field areas through CBM America and CBM Canada. 

Mark Carr and Rafeek Soolaman,
CBMC Co-Links for Guyana

 


Editor’s note: The Tidings would like to thank Sis. Jan Berneau (Verdugo Hills Ecclesia, CA) for her important work in supplying updates from the CBMA and CBMC. Jan has led publicity for over two decades, keeping us all informed of activities in Latin America and the Caribbean and how we might support the work. Additionally, Sis. Jan leads the work for the Western Ecclesial Address Book, which is updated annually. Many thanks to Sis. Jan, for her loving and diligent work!


 

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