BELIZE CITY, Thurs. August 23, 2018–For the first time, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) is coming to Belize to begin missionary work in the country. Since this is a first, two pastors, Pastor Mashod Evans from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Pastor John White II, the founder of the Immanuel Temple in Pembroke Pines, Florida, stopped by our office to speak about the church and the work they do across the world.
The AMEC was founded by a slave, Richard Allen, who bought his freedom. He founded the church after he saw that American Methodists were segregating their church members based on race. In 1794, he created Bethel AME and he went to court in 1807 and 1815 for his congregation’s right to exist as an independent institution.
More than 200 years and 2 million members later, the AMEC is well-established over the world and continues to do its part in helping its communities.
The AMEC, according to its website, is a “connectional organization” and “each local church is part of a larger connection.” AME churches can be found in almost every continent and it has about 7,000 congregations.
The 16th Episcopal District of the AMEC, which is presided over by Bishop Anne Henning Byfield, includes Caribbean countries such as Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica and more, along with other countries like Brazil, England and France. As of last year, Belize has also become a part of this district.
Virginia Echols, who hosts the Moments of Inspiration show on KREM Radio on Sunday mornings, made a call to the Bishop, who, in turn, connected with the churches around the world to find members who were willing to serve in Belize.
Before establishing a church, however, the organization has chosen to build a foundation by finding and meeting the needs of Belize. Pastor Evans will return to serve, with other members of his church, in November, and Pastor White will return in March 2019 to serve. They plan to do this annually.
They will be starting to provide their services in child care centers, the women’s prison, and in the transitional house for women recently released from prison. They plan to start assisting these institutions by painting, cleaning, providing meals, establishing health clinics, and giving out personal hygiene supplies such as tampons, sheets etc.
One of the AMEC’s priorities is education, and as such, they have established schools in many countries, including the Caribbean. They also support orphanages in the region and have established six healthcare clinics in Haiti alone.
AMEC plans to continue finding out the needs of Belize and serving however they can.