Bahamian Adventists Go Shoeless to Help Others
Hundreds of church members at the Living Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nassau, Bahamas, took off their shoes during Saturday worship service on June 7 and walked off barefoot. The act was part of a special service to promote awareness for the millions of children and adults around the world who are in need of shoes or cannot afford any.
This event called Barefoot Sabbath is a tribute to Barefoot Sunday—a grassroots campaign launched by the international shoe charity Soles4Souls.
BAREFOOT FOR OTHERS: More than 250 church members and visitors at the Living Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church took off their shoes and brought them to the altar during the Barefoot Sabbath special event. More than 277 pairs of shoes were collected on June 7 and will be distributed at the end of the month.“There were two goals for Barefoot Sabbath,” said Barrington Brennen, who helped organize the first-time special Sabbath event. “We wanted to collect shoes to give away to those who cannot afford shoes or who do not have shoes, and help people learn about the true meaning of Christian service,” he said.
Brennen, who is Family Ministries director for the Bahamas Conference, took off his shoes before he preached to the congregation on what it meant to walk barefoot spiritually.
“I was so excited to come to church this morning so I can give away some of the many shoes I have in my closet and walk out of church barefoot,” said Laura Roberts, a member of the Living Seventh-day Adventist Church. Roberts, like many of her fellow members, had heard the Barefoot Sabbath being promoted weeks before.
Elizabeth Gibson, a first-time visitor who sat in the first row, was moved by the message. “It was touching and deeply spiritual,” she said as she left church barefoot.
Brennen, who appealed to the congregation to leave their shoes at the altar as they closed the worship service, was touched by the response. “You should have seen the happy, yet solemn, faces as they took off their shoes. Some brought extra shoes in bags and shoe boxes,” he added. “One mother said that she wanted to be a part of Barefoot Sabbath but since she did not have shoes to give away she went and bought a pair just for the special day.”
In all, 277 pairs of shoes were collected during the special day. Brennen said that a portion of the donated shoes will go to Soles4Souls, and the rest will be given away during the Living Faith and Redemption Churches Community Services Expo on June 22 at the Bahamas Adventist Academy and other charitable organizations on the island.
Living Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church plans to hold Barefoot Sabbath once a year, and organizers hope to have other Adventist churches participate in the project.
For more information on Barefoot Sabbath in the Bahamas, visitwww.bahamasconference.org.
—Inter-American Division Staff