Fresh from his appearance as the first Jamaican on the popular CBS-show ‘Undercover Boss’, Lowell Hawthorne, Founder and President of Golden Krust – the 120-store Caribbean food empire in the USA – will be one of the main presenters at the two-day Jamaica Christian Diaspora Conference set for the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Hotel on Thursday, October 13 and Friday, October 14.
Other distinguished corporate leaders at the conference will include Courtney Campbell, President, Victoria Mutual Building Society.
Also expected to participate are: Bishop Wilton Powell, Immediate Past National Overseer of the Church of Prophecy for UK and France, as well as pioneer and founding member of the Nehemiah Foundation, which has provided houses for over 1-thousand retirees in the UK, most of whom are Jamaicans.
Dez Brown, Founder and Project Director of Spark2Life in the UK, who committed a serious crime at the age of 17. but whose life was transformed in prison and now works with the UK Police in order to bring positive change to the lives of prisoners, will also be a speaker at the conference.
Scores of Christians, civil leaders and various stakeholders involved in social and economic development on the island, as well as in the Diaspora, are expected to attend the conference.
“It promises to be a watershed moment in Jamaica’s growing Diaspora movement. This conference will also provide the opportunity for networking with like-minded and committed people, bringing together those who are already involved in the work of transforming communities and the nation, with those having newly ignited interest and drive to make change happen”, said Pastor Bruce Fletcher, Chairman of Operation Save Jamaica, organisers of the event.
At least 11 sessions are planned over the two days.
An Official Opening Ceremony is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 13 with Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and a message from the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen on the programme.
Also on Day 1, Dr. Wayne Henry, Director-General, Planning Institute of Jamaica will present the Keynote Plenary Address on “Without a Vision the People Perish: The Church as Nation Builder”, That presentation will be followed by a Panel of Bishops, with presenters from the UK, Canada and USA, to focus on “Cords that Cannot Be Broken: The Role of the Diaspora Church in Jamaica’s Socio-Economic Development.”
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Pearnel Charles Jr, will join Joy Moncrieffe, Political Sociologist; Joanna Simpson, Research PhD Student and Dr. Elizabeth Ward, Chairman, Violence Prevention Alliance on the Plenary Panel to discuss “A Conversation on the State of At-Risk Youth in Jamaica: Challenges and Responses.”
The second Plenary Panel will have Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice; Ina Hunter, Commissioner of Corrections; Bishop Deryck Webley, New Testament Church of God in Birmingham, UK; Pastor Franz Fletcher, leader of the Church on the Rock and Dez Brown, Founder & Project Director of Spark2Life in the UK on the panel.
Other presenters on Day 1 will include: Hon. Floyd Green, Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Youth; Corine Richards, Principal of the Portmore Community College and Bishop Dr. Basil Miller of Canada
The launch of the Montego Bay Street Pastors’ initiative is set for Friday, October 14, with remarks by the founder of the project Bishop Les Isaac, CEO of Ascension Trust.
A Plenary Panel to explore how to set up a Christian Diaspora Foundation and various investment vehicles to fund social initiatives will include: Martin Levermore, CEO of MDTI; David Jordon, President of Seven Hills Foundation; Andrew Street, FareShare South West and Bristol Together UK and Bishop Ransford Jones of Canada.
Pastor Fletcher said the conference will seek to continue to explore opportunities for individuals, Christian organisations and Diaspora leaders to examine for implementation a Diaspora Multi- Disciplinary Centre for young offenders and a template for turning around under-resourced, under-performing schools into Schools of Choice.
Operation Save Jamaica (OSJ) is a non-profit, registered charity with a mission to engage Jamaicans and other partners across the globe in strategic actions so that Jamaica can experience revival, sustainable development and transformation.
One of OSJ’s initiatives is the dynamic ‘Street Pastors’ Programme, founded in the United Kingdom. Under the programme, street pastors intervene in disputes, suicide attempts and murder, while providing help, care and a listening ear in communities. To-date, 125 street pastors from 35 churches have been trained and have volunteered to carry out 103 weekly street patrols to serve nearly 3,000 persons in communities in Kingston.