March for Peace Takes Unexpected Turn: Religious Factions Clash Over Leadership
In an ironic turn of events, a march for peace has evolved into a division between religious factions. In the aftermath of yesterday’s march for peace, organized by several church groups, a spat of sorts has developed. Indications are that an argument has sparked between Patrick Menzies of the Alliance of Ministers and Leaders and a group made up of the United Churches, and the National Evangelical Association of Belize. Our newsroom spoke with Menzies who is claiming that the march was his idea, and that his idea had been hijacked by the group. He further claims that he was in the United States when he contacted Richard Smith and Pastor Lance Lewis of the NEAB to finalize the event and for them to obtain the police permit to march. On the day of the march, however, Menzies reportedly found out that he had been given the boot and excluded from participating in the event.
Patrick Menzies, Pastor: “The reason why there is an issue and I want to clarify it is because we organized this march and we had people that were supposed to speak at the march and we were told on Monday we won’t be able to participate. My problem here is that I’m looking my civil rights were violated. Again who organized the march was me, that’s besides the point the issue is we wanted to be able to speak and so we couldn’t there was no fuss. If we can’t speak there we will meet at a different location after the event and we will have a meeting. We tried to do that but the police was sent to us and they stopped us. The crux of this matter is that we wanted to have this service on the steps of the National Assembly. We weren’t able to because of what was done by other pastors.”
The NEAB did reach out to our newsroom, warning us to tread carefully in airing Menzies’ interview as they are prepared to take action through their attorneys. According to Pastor Scott Stirm of NEAB, “The Pray for Israel event was NOT a NEAB event in any way, shape, or form. It was never brought to the team for any decision or discussion, much less a vote. Some NEAB leaders were involved as Pastors of their churches.” End of quote. And while the association didn’t respond to Menzies’ claim of a hijacking of the event, the United Churches did, but they say it’s the other way around. Richard Smith called our studio and alleged that Menzies was the one who attempted to take control of the event that was his brainchild. Either way, there is a spat among these religious leaders despite yesterday’s call for peace.