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Council of Churches endorses vaccination campaign

Belize City, Mon. Sept. 20, 2021– On Monday, the Belize Council of Churches released a video in which the leaders of a number of local denominations indicated to the public their support of the ongoing vaccination campaign and urged members of the public to receive the vaccine.

The first speaker in the virtual message, Rt. Rev. Philip Wright, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese, stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic is robbing us of our livelihood, our family members, our freedoms, our sense of security and the social fabric that is critical to the well-being and progress of our communities and society. We long for a return to a sense of normalcy, but that is only possible if we each do our part to reverse the present trends and arrest this crisis.” At the conclusion of the address, Bishop Wright placed on public record the Council’s support of the Ministry of Health and Wellness in its efforts to address the spread of the virus. “The Belize Council of Churches is supportive of the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ recent actions to curb the unsustainable trauma this current reality has placed on our medical facilities and personnel. We believe these measures are to the best interest of our nation and the people we serve. They offer us a viable path back to the normalcy we desire.”

Next to speak was Bishop Moses Benguche, who, on behalf of the Methodist Church, shared a message of selflessness and regard for others. Bishop Benguche stated that the “The tenets of our faith as Christians admonishes us to demonstrate our love for God by loving each other in the manner we desire to be loved, respected and cared for, as demonstrated in Matthew 22:37-40.” This, says the bishop, calls us to demonstrate “a level of selflessness, a sense of responsibility and a commitment to be our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers, looking out for the welfare of others and not just for ourselves.” Bishop Benguche went on to make reference to those involved in the anti-vaxx movement, and said that those persons have “endangered our whole nation.” The bishop remarked that anti-vaxxers seem to have forgotten that it is not just about them. He concluded his segment by stating that the “management of COVID-19 is the responsibility of every citizen and resident who lives in this beloved country.” “Let’s be clear, our individual rights must never override our collective social responsibly. We must work cohesively and not divisively,” he said.

The final presenter was Bishop Roman Nicasio of the Roman Catholic Diocese, who called on Belizeans to get vaccinated. He stated, “The Church believes the vaccine is the morally responsible thing to do. We thus call on every citizen and resident of our beautiful country to take responsibility by following protocols and to get vaccinated if medically able to do so.” Bishop Nicasio said that the evidence clearly indicates that vaccines are saving lives and preventing serious illness. He asserted that we must support our medical staff by doing what is required of us. In closing, he stressed that “the staff at our hospital are beleaguered. They’re under tremendous stress and they’re at their breaking point,.” so it is up to us to do the right thing and get vaccinated.

The trio of religious leaders ended their message by jointly stating: “We give God thanks for the gift of this beautiful land we call home. As we celebrate 40 years of political independence under the theme ‘Belize At 40, Hopeful Hands, Steady Hearts Together We Rise’, let us continue to pray for each other, our nation and the world.”

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