Hope Zone Launched


Hope 2007, a multi-denominational group organized to incorporate the gospel into sporting events, has taken their evangelistic efforts to a new level with the launch of the HOPE Zone.
Speaking with JIS News yesterday (March 14), Co-Chairman, Pastor Percival Palmer, said that the zone formed part of the group’s evangelical thrust for the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007, and will operate out of St. William Grant Park, downtown Kingston on March 16, 20, 22 and 24.
“At the Hope Zone, we will have the distribution of pamphlets, conduct counselling and prayer sessions, and worship [in the form of] music and dramatizations. Persons who visit the zone will also have the opportunity to watch the game of the day,” Pastor Palmer pointed out.
Commenting on the timeliness of the group’s initiative, which was launched in Trench Town on Sunday, March 11, Pastor Palmer said that the concept of ministering to fans attending a major sporting event was not a new phenomenon.
“It has been done since 1988 in Seoul, Korea, where the church community used the event of the Summer Olympic Games and later on, they continued the concept for World Cup Football. So what we are doing is using a model that has been developed internationally in the sports ministry movement,” he informed.
Hope 2007 is a partnership project with various Para-church organizations and churches on a whole. The acronym HOPE, Mr. Palmer said, meant “Hospitality, Outreach, Prayer and Empowerment” and has as its motto, ‘Bringing hope through winning partnerships’.
According to the Pastor, this model of sports evangelism would be evident during other major sporting events in the island.
“We are also planning a major outreach programme during Boys and Girls Champs. What we are saying is that sports provide an opportunity to minister to people in a way that is non-threatening,” he said.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, Pastor Palmer said, provided an opportunity for the region to shine.
“I think it’s our time and it’s God’s timing and we will continue to reap the benefits both spiritually and physically from hosting the event for a long time to come,” he said.
So far, the multi-denominational group of Christians, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), has undertaken a massive clean-up exercise across the Corporate Area. The effort has since spread to other parishes, including Trelawny, St. Catherine, St. Mary and St. James.

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