We minister with several dynamic congregations in Belize's western region: the Cayo District.
St. Andrew's is the largest congregation that we work with, a parish church in the Anglican Diocese of Belize. Coordinating with a growing team of lay leaders, our ministry at St. Andrew's is focused on preaching and teaching, leading worship and music ministry, pastoral visitation and leadership development, and outreach both to the homeless community and to the local primary school.
Although the parish is over one hundred years old, its size and influence has greatly fluctuated, often waning in the long periods without any resident clergy. Building on the the ministry of our predecessors the Rev. Juan and Maria Marentes, we are praying that the Lord will use our presence at St. Andrew's to continue to grow the church, not only in attendance and leadership, but also to become a launchpad for new church plants and other ministries in the area.
St. Hilda's is a strategic mission at a literal crossroads in Western Belize. Historically a place of powerful worship and service, it is surrounded by a number of ethnically diverse villages and communities with the potential to become a hub of ministry in the area. Due to its smaller size we often struggle to train and retain new leaders; nevertheless, we are working with a strong group of core leadership to minister to the many children who attend the church on Sundays (and sometimes on weekdays) and to extend those relationships to their broader families.
Much of the outreach at St. Hilda's involves the two primary schools associated with the mission, St. Hilda's (on the same campus) and St. Barnabas' (a mile down the road). With effective collaboration, the mission and its schools have the opportunity to reach out in new ways to new groups of people: not only to the Kriol who first settled Georgeville, but to the Garinagu, to Hispanics and Latinos, and even to the Maya who continue to live further down the road into the jungle. We are praying that the Lord will use our presence at St. Hilda's to catalyze a movement to bring Christ's love to this whole area and begin new churches devoted to proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ!
THE HISPANIC MISSIONS
Since the 1970s, political unrest and civil war in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua have driven tens of thousands of Central American refugees to find a new home in Belize, often founding entirely new villages in the process. It was key then that the 1990s saw the birth of an Anglican outreach to these Spanish-speaking people, outreach which not only involved restorative justice for families wounded by war, but also the planting of self-governing churches in their new communities.
Today three of these missions continue on strong: Iglesia Anglicana Santa Trinidad (Frank's Eddy Village), Iglesia Anglicana Santa Cruz (Selena Village), and Iglesia Anglicana la Anunciación (Santa Elena Town). Though poor in financial resources, they are rich in so many other ways. Because of their proximity to our English-speaking congregations, and the overlap in our mutual ministry, we very frequently work together to further the Gospel and to build up the church of Christ. Together, we are able to share in worship, share in projects and resources, and to be voices for one another in our respective communities, and especially on a diocesan level where few clergy or lay leaders are fully bilingual.
Our prayer is that, as God weaves our English- and Spanish-speaking churches in Cayo closer in unity and ministry, that we will be a testimony that the risen Christ is greater than the divisions of ethnicity, language, class, or politics!