The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI)’s Church and Society Sub-Committee hosted “COVID-19: The Economic Fallout and Recovery”, an online public economic forum in May. Streamed from Webster Memorial United Church, 1,572 people participated across online platforms as panellists drawn from critical sectors of society gave their analyses of the current economic crisis and what our response should be as a nation, as individuals, as government and the church.

They voiced the need for churches to better organise and mobilise people at the community level, going beyond offering care packages to “develop an agenda” around those who are forgotten by society. They also asserted that “the Church has to organize itself to press those who are in the seat of power in the private and public sectors, to respond to the realities of our time.” For example, the Church should therefore seek to sit at the table of discussions on closing the digital divide, they said.

In addition, the Church should focus more on equipping its congregants for public advocacy, and holds “the potential to be a building block for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises” through hosting financial and business expos, training, networking, and “educating the citizenry on the message of the Gospel outside of its walls, which is relevant to business”.

At the government level, they saw the need for more capital projects and significant investment in agriculture and digital infrastructure, and for small business leaders to find new growth areas, build staff capacity and craft strategies for absorbing sudden shocks to business.