Getting more boys into Sunday School can help reform and renew Caribbean culture, the Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago told his diocesan synod last Wednesday, saying the moral decline of society had its roots in the weakening of the Christian faith as a dynamic influence on the lives of the young.

Speaking at the opening service of the 151st meeting of synod held at St Paul’s Anglican Church in San Fernando on 5 June 2024  gathered under the theme of “Reimagining mission: Changing the paradigm”, the Rt. Rev. Claude Berkley enumerated the social issues plaguing the West Indian island nation. 

The country had witnessed a growing disrespect for office and authority, law and order; increasing decline in volunteerism; self hate; deep distrust and subversion; unrealistic expectations and application; diminishing commitment and loyalty; a determined and shameless undermining of institutional principles and a tendency to promote form over substance.

These character issues resulted in the proliferation of crime, the weakening of the family structure, and a dysfunctional education system. 

The synod needed to “consider how the church can assist the State in many battles which affect us all as a nation. … What input can we make?” he said.

Moral formation was the key to reforming society, Bishop Berkley argued.  “I think if we were able to get more young men into Sunday school at the right age we might defer or deter some of the callousness that has built,” he said.

Sunday school did not have an exciting reputation and might seem boring to young people, but it did change the worldview of its participants, the bishop argued, noting lasting change could only come from character improvement, not government mandates.