For the past 10 years, Princess Court Ministries have been a positive outlet for hundreds of young girls throughout the island of Grand Bahama, encouraging them to lead lives of discipline, obeying God’s word and remaining sexually pure until marriage.
Stephanie Burrows began the program a decade ago and now has offered to share the brand with St. Jude’s Anglican Church in Smith’s Point.
Brenda Bannister, program coordinator and parishioner of St. Jude’s revealed that this Saturday (October 7), she and other female mentors in the church will welcome young girls and women, throughout the island, into the program.
“The Princess Court Ministry is geared towards young girls and ladies between the ages of five to 18. What we hope to do is teach the girls skills and lessons for life. The goal of the ministry, of course, is to encourage them to keep their bodies as unto the Lord. Our secondary goal is to teach them skills that they can use to become Godly homemakers ... we are teaching them lessons that they will carry on into their adulthood.
“We begin on Saturday, October 7 and we will run for a period of eight weeks. Within those eight weeks we will be teaching them skills such as etiquette, cooking and baking, gardening, art and crafts, sewing and of course, Bible study. We will begin every session with Bible study, teaching them the scriptures, encouraging them based on our scripture, which is Psalm 139:14, that they are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’”
Bannister shared that while St. Jude’s Anglican church will host the event, it is indeed open to girls throughout the island, regardless of denomination. “Even though it is being held by St. Jude’s we are extending the invitation not just to the community of Smith’s Point, but any young girls between those ages – five and 18 – who have a heart, who are interested in learning these skills.
“We are eager to mentor them for that eight-week period. We have also extended an invitation to our Anglican sister churches throughout Grand Bahama as well,” said Bannister.
A few weeks ago a workshop was held at the St. Jude’s Parish Hall, for the mentors of the group – referred to as ‘Leading ladies’ – where Stephanie Burrows, founder of the Princess Court Ministries was in attendance.
As the founder of the successful girls’ ministry, Bannister expressed that she was elated to have Burrows attend the workshop.
Bannister noted that she and the other ‘Leading Ladies’ benefitted from first-hand knowledge from Burrows not only on what to expect, but she offered words of encouragement to each of them.
“Mrs. Burrows has celebrated 10 years of the ministry and we were very grateful when she did not mind sharing her plan; we have the same thing in common, we want to influence young girls in a positive light. Mrs. Burrows was very excited and eager.
“We wanted to begin with a workshop that will encourage the young women, the ‘Leading Ladies,’ as we call them – who will be working in the program. We are all from different backgrounds, from different skillsets; we wanted to have an opportunity for Mrs. Burrows to encourage us, so that we can discover some of the new things about who we are.
“She encouraged us on how to work with the young girls, how to meet them exactly where they are and work with them, with the skills that God has given us. It was truly a blessing for her to be there, to really encourage us and spend that time with us, sharing on the experiences. She also brought in some of her ‘Leading Ladies,’ who also offered testimonials about the ministry and the success of it. We are definitely encouraged and we are charged and ready to begin.
“None of us are perfect, but we each have something that we bring to the table. We believe that God has truly blessed us; we all have fallen down and gotten up, and now, we want to be an inspiration to someone else, so that their journey is a little bit easier.”
Additionally, she shared that as the ministry’s ultimate goal is to encourage the young women to abstain from sexual intercourse until marriage, Bannister encouraged those who may have had that encounter already, to come as they are and know that they too are welcome.
“We want them to know that our God is a God of a second chance. Even though you might have had that experience, if you commit your way unto the Lord, then He will help you to walk from this point forward. We are here to encourage them and help them, in every step of the way. God is a God of love; we want to pour a little bit out of that love to the young girls. I am excited about it and so are the other ‘Leading Ladies. We are looking forward to it and believing in God.”
Leading Ladies, Leonie Beneby, Lizbeth Cheong and Pamela Bannister each shared their thoughts on being a part of the girls’ ministry at St. Jude’s Anglican church.
Beneby’s outreach within the ministry will be focused on cooking and baking.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this ministry, because I can use my baking and cooking skills to teach the girls the basics. I was very delighted when Brenda (Bannister) approached me, in reference to it.”
Pamela Bannister, whose focus will be based on etiquette revealed, “For me, at first, I was hesitant about joining it, but then I realized that life experiences, that I have personally encountered, I would be able to share with the young ladies.
“All of us have some hidden things inside of us that need to be developed; we have skills within us, talent within us and these need to be developed and nurtured. The young ladies that will be coming to us, will be from different backgrounds. We will be able to mentor them and enhance those talents that lie within them. We will also be able to nurture them on life lessons, experiences that we have had, how to face various challenges.
“We want the girls to know that they are loved and to realize that there are persons out there, in the community, that care about them, to know that they are not alone. There are persons here that are interested in their well-being and that care about them and their development.
“I like to think that we will be preparing them for life on a whole; preparing them for after school as well, going into the job market, how to present themselves as young ladies, teaching them how to develop resumes, develop and prepare for the job market; those skills that are needed when you eventually graduate from school,” commented Pamela Bannister.
Focused on her passion for gardening, Lizbeth Cheong, is eager to share her hobby with the girls in attendance.
“When Ms. Brenda Bannister called me about it I was full speed ahead, because I have always admired Stephanie (Burrows) and her ministry. I actually wanted to join her, but did not know how to get in contact with her. But I thought that is was a fantastic thing for us to do. There are girls that have challenges and God has blessed us with gifts and talents.
“A lot of children are left alone, after school or in the summer; if we can develop hobbies and show them that they do not have spend so much time on their phones, or in the front of a computer. My hobby is gardening, so that is what I want to share with the girls. Being outside is such a healthy atmosphere and environment. It provides a healing outlet.”
As the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture celebrates Youth Month in October, Carla Brown-Roker, Youth Coordinator stated that they have and continue to fully support the PCM, as it offers young girls an outlet to learn so much and express themselves in a positive light.
“The MYSC and the Youth Month Committee are totally endorsing this program, we know the benefits of Princess Court Ministries and we excitedly welcome the Princess Court Ministry, at St. Jude’s.
“The fact that we have so many girls that are unattached in various ways, in our community, if we do not help them, we leave them open to the forces out there. We know that it really takes a village to raise children. It takes a village to ensure that whatever they are not getting in terms of nurturing at home, they can get from Godly women.
“That is exactly what this ‘A’ team from St. Jude’s represents; it’s an ‘A’ team of Godly women, who have had their share of challenges, but they know how big the God that they serve is. They are willing to pour into the young women that are entrusted in their care and for that, we are grateful for these wonderful partners,” said Brown-Roker.
Brenda Bannister shared that pre-registration will take place at St, Jude’s Anglican Church Hall in Smith’s Point on Saturday. There is a small one-time fee; however, if persons are unable to pay the fee she encourages them to still come, as no one will be turned away.
She also appealed to corporate Grand Bahama for assistance with respect to sponsorship, to ensure that they able to provide the girls in their care with the best of what Princess Court Ministries has to offer.
“We do not have a sponsor as yet ... I have reached out to corporate Grand Bahama, but no one has responded as yet. But I am hoping and praying to God that someone will and help us to provide T-shirts for the girls. Things in Grand Bahama are difficult and we do not want to put that expense on the parents. I am hoping that someone will step up to the plate and assist.”
Interested persons can contact Bannister at 727-3482 or 352-3482, or contact the host church (St. Jude’s) at 602-5788/ 373-3009/ 374-1270.