Last week we told you about a rift between the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches which led to a number of pastors breaking away and forming a new association. As we told you, the group of church leaders, all outside of Belize City, was suspended by the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches and their suspension had to do with their 2014 constitution which was reportedly approved unanimously. Today members of the newly created National Evangelical Association of Belize brought their position to the media. Pastor Lance Lewis the President of the Association spoke of the attempts to find common ground with the leaders of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches.
“In light of the recent developments with the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches and resulting suspension of all national leaders from the BAEC we have been compelled to form a new association, the National Evangelical Association of Belize to give proper and full representation to all Evangelical Churches in the nation as well as corresponding within the larger body of evangelical association of the Caribbean. We enjoyed a wonderful four year process of unity team work and forming a nationwide network plan an constitution for the BAEC. The unity and team work is what we esteem and long for between the churches in Belize. The new constitution was unanimously approved in 2014 as we continue to make final adjustments. In September of this year 2015 a core of Belize City leaders abandoned that approved constitution, suspended all national leaders outside of Belize City and registered a different constitution from what we all had agreed on. We asked repeatedly for a meeting together for two months with the Belize City chapter and no response. All national chapters sent letters requesting arbitration on the issue, we were denied. We all created the national plan together, we all formed the new constitution together and we adjusted it together, we accepted it together. Now we as the National Evangelical Association of Belize are continuing with that same plan and constitution together with leaders all over Belize. Nothing has changed for us. As such the National Evangelical Association of Belize is the legitimate National Evangelical Body who continue to stand with our arms open wide to our Belize City partner of churches hoping and believing that we can be reunited to the glory of God and the betterment of our nation. Our Nation needs for churches to be united at this time and every time.”
So now there are two evangelical associations. The Belize Association of Evangelical Churches has long been recognized as the official body representing evangelists in Belize but now it has lost a significant amount of its leaders across the country. The National Evangelical Association of Belize says that they have the support of more than two hundred churches nationwide and they are keeping with the constitution.
PASTOR LANCE LEWIS
“We know that the BAEC is officially recognized by the government along with the Council of Churches, so they are still the people that the government would talk with. We are hoping that with the broader based and that was the plan with even the interim president who has now declared himself president that he will realize that they have gone the wrong way and come back in. We are open to them becoming fully involved in us because right now we represent the vast majority of evangelical churches and pastors in the nation of Belize and we were following the constitution that was now being put in place so we did not wrong as far as we saw. They put us out but we are willing to take them in.”
Reverend Ashley Rocke was recently appointed as the Senator who will represent the church in all Senate meetings but this new association does not believe that his appointment is legitimate since they were not given the chance to vote on it.
“The Senator for the Church represents the whole church and so it’s not just representing the BAEC or the Council of Churches. It represents the whole church and so we are eagerly optimistic in being able to sit to meet together with them and for that functional collectiveness as a large part of the church and then as I said that the present BAEC consists of ten to thirteen leaders of Belize City.”
PASTOR SCOTT STIRM
“Despite the fact that we are a diverse bunch of people representing diverse churches around the nation, we were unanimous in agreeing to appoint a committee to meet with ASI Rock to chart our way forward and establish a working relationship, fully representing the entire evangelical body and that’s the attitude in which we are going in to this. We want this to be very constructive, we want to see him representing all of us and we believe there is great potential to do that. We believe there is great potential for people who are part of the Belize District Chapter to see that this is the direction that we have agreed to all along ,that they were participating with it for a while. We don’t really understand why there was this varying in a different direction but we welcome them to reengage in the process that we have been engaging in for four years and having I believe great success among the leaders and growing together and being a voice for the church together.”
According to Lewis, the hope that the Senator will be willing to discuss several key issues including the churches firm position on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the revised gender policy.
PASTOR LANCE LEWIS
We were unable to get in contact with the current President of the Belize Evangelical Association of Churches, Pastor Howell Longsworth. However we are told that he is out of the country and would not discuss the churches’ business in public saying that it is God’s business.