St. Maarten Prime Minister officially launches Come Center

POSTED: 04/9/13 11:39 AM

St. Maarten – What began as small faith based social gatherings has now blossomed into an outreach hub with direct focus on battling the social ills in society.  Established in January 2012, operational as of July and officially launched on Sunday, the Community Outreach Mentorship and Empowerment International Center (Come Center) has high hopes of not only touching its immediate environment, Longwall Road, but extending its reach beyond St. Maarten’s borders.

The quaint, purple painted center is neatly juxtaposed between the Great Salt Pond and the Great Bay area, on the bottom floor of the Maynard Building, at the junction, where Longwall Road meets Cannegieter Street.

It is the ideal location, the management team and volunteers believe, and it speaks volumes of the ease of access with which individuals can come to receive food, clothing, temporary shelter, counseling, education or just to socialize with their peers. Run by a non-profit foundation, the Center’s establishment and success to date, has depended largely on the willing hands and hearts of individuals who are passionate about social development.

Despite intermittent rains, the Come Center was blessed and dedicated on Sunday afternoon by members of the clergy, private sector and government officials. The facility has its genesis out of the vision of Thy Kingdom Come Ministries International Church but according to Apostle Leyland G. Sam, Come’s mission is

“What we have found over the years is that the church only takes care of the spirit man, I am blessed, I am saved and I am going to heaven and that’s it. But we fail to prepare people to live here on earth. Revelation says heaven is for overcomers, if you don’t conquer here, don’t expect to get there. So it is our responsibility to ensure that you live a victorious life here on planet earth.”

Sam added that Come has the pedigree to deal with present societal ills.

“We have to take the church from the building to the community. We want to take it as far as God allows.”

Board members Wanesia Henry and Rosan Gayle spoke of the history of the Come Center.

“It initially began with small family gatherings after church to encourage and promote fellowship among brethren and soon developed into hands being extended to members in the community and surrounding neighborhoods.”

While community outreach began with soup kitchens, outreach programs in Sucker Garden and Fort Willem, prayer walks in Philipsburg and the distribution of food and clothing, both Gayle and Henry said that the organization soon realized that this was not enough. For lasting impact, outreach activities would have to be sustainable.

“These activities made us cognizant of the fact that there is a dire need for a continuous outreach program, which led to the establishment of Come in January 2012. The word Come is an open invitation with no strings attached.”

The ceremony was littered with well wishes and songs by youth and senior citizens, all of whom echoed one theme; “it is only just the beginning.”

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams in brief remarks said that she honored to be at the opening of the facility. She however cautioned that the true test, for the Come Center, is yet to come.

“You have an obligation to fulfill and a charge to keep; you have put the success of this center in the highest hands possible. I pray that this center will never be without an activity. It is important that your doors always remain open,” the prime minister commented.

She noted that while much focus is placed on youth development globally, the Come Center has been able to tap into the source of many of problems facing young people, by targeting their parents.

“If we are not able to assist the parents and families much of our work will be in vain.”

Keynote speaker Apostle Rosemond Romney said that with the pioneer spirit that is all over the island, this is a tremendous time for St. Maarten. He charged the staff members of the Come Center to “know who you are”. He attached the success of the center to type of people it utilizes to execute its mandate.  He encouraged staff to be like “a mighty eagle, a mighty river, a mighty lion, and a bullet train.”

“You will succeed only as you see yourselves as God sees you. Think correctly, speak correctly, act correctly and fulfill your mandate of this center,” Romney stated.

Though still in its infantile stage, the Center’s programs such as Senior in Actions, Adult Basic Assessment (Literacy) and book café were all hailed a success at the launching ceremony by Seven Seas Water’s Franklyn Richards, Mayra Provence of the St. Maarten Timeshare Association  and Silvia Edwards. A guided tour of the facility, that also provides rental services, was also conducted.

The dedication of the facility was also special for members of Thy Kingdom Ministries International since Sunday also marked the 11th anniversary of that church.

 

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