NORTHERN Caribbean University (NCU) and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, which operates it, have both issued statements distancing themselves from comments made by one of their pastors at Sunday night’s People’s National Party (PNP) mass rally in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew.
Pastor Michael Harvey, who is employed to Northern Caribbean University (NCU) — the church’s flagship education institution — as vice-president for spiritual affairs and is senior pastor of the NCU church, told the thousands of people at the rally that they should rise up and be counted in his exhortation for them to vote for the PNP.
But yesterday, the church said that Harvey was in no way speaking on its behalf.
“We are distancing ourselves from statements made by Pastor Harvey during the PNP mass rally held in Half-Way-Tree on Sunday,” said Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Adventist Church in Jamaica. “I wish to restate for all our workers, including those at NCU and every Adventist-owned institution, members, and the public at large that the Seventh-day Adventist church in Jamaica does not support any political party.”
Harvey, who sits on the controversial board of the National Housing Trust, was quoted as saying that his philosophies are aligned with those of the PNP, hence his support for that party.
But, according to Pastor Brown, while it is the right of members, as citizens, to exercise their franchise and vote for the candidates of their choice, the church will not publicly or privately endorse any political party or support partisan political activities.
“The stance taken by the pastor is a misrepresentation of our global church policy. As a worker of the church he should not be so involved in partisan political activities to the extent that his comments may influence the actions of any of our members or give the public any impression that the church is aligned with any of our political parties. The church will support the Government of the day, whichever party or combination of parties forms it,” he said.
“Our work is to share the love of Jesus Christ to men and women so they may come into a saving relationship with Him. We do so by the preaching of the gospel and extending our arms of love to help those ‘in need’ in the communities in which our church operates,” Pastor Brown added.
NCU’s director of corporate communications, marketing and public relations, Nadeen Campbell Brown, meanwhile, said the university remained neutral in all things political.
“As an institution owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Northern Caribbean University does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office — a position that is based on our denomination’s historical position of separation of Church and State. While individual members of the university community are free to support or oppose any candidate for office as they see fit, the institution remains neutral on all candidates for office, and all university property remains a neutral space when it comes to elections,” she said.