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VI churches criticised for being too passive

Commentator Douglas Wheatley stated it is felt by some people that the clergy is not aggressive enough with regards to the role of social policy in the VI society and needed to have a more forceful presence in order to have the desired impact. Photo: VINO
According to Wheatley, church members and church clergy have to leave the four walls of the churches and go out into the highways and the bi-ways and show that they are concerned with the little man and the way he is living. Photo: VINO/File
According to Wheatley, church members and church clergy have to leave the four walls of the churches and go out into the highways and the bi-ways and show that they are concerned with the little man and the way he is living. Photo: VINO/File
Dr Melvin A. Turnbull of the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church said the church is not simply a place but is in actual fact the people. Photo: CGBBC.org
Dr Melvin A. Turnbull of the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church said the church is not simply a place but is in actual fact the people. Photo: CGBBC.org
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – One caller on the Speak Out BVI radio programme said it was his understanding that the clergy was being held responsible for the absence of pari-mutuel betting within the Territory and felt that the church should be paying attention to more important issues than this.

Commentator Douglas Wheatley, however, stated it is felt by some people that the clergy is not aggressive enough with regards to the role of social policy in the VI society and needed to have a more forceful presence in order to have the desired impact.

“You cannot stay within the four walls of a church and expect to have the kind of impact that you would want on the society,” Wheatley said on his show on September 3, 2013.

According to Wheatley, “church members and church clergy have to leave the four walls of the churches and go out into the highways and the bi-ways and show that they are concerned with the little man and the way he is living.”

The commentator suggested that church members should be like Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Rev Jesse Jackson who were affected in some ways by what is referred to as the Liberation theology.

“To have the greatest impact, you cannot have it within the four walls, as hard as you may try, but you have to go out into the highways and the bi-ways and make a difference,” he added.

Attempts to reach Pastor Claude Skelton-Cline for any comments on the issue proved unsuccessful up to post time. Bishop John I. Cline indicated that he could not comment at this time.

Meanwhile, Father Ronald Branche of the St George’s Anglican Church said he was not in total agreement that churches were in the VI were passive, “What used to happen is that we had functioning, the Christian Council, and that embodied a number of the churches and that was the sort of organ that we used to deal with social issues.”

Father Branche said while there has been some waning of the Council, the hope is that it could be revived to address the social issues that affect the VI society. He was hopeful that the churches could get together before the end of the year with a view to reviving the council.

Dr Melvin A. Turnbull of the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church said the church is not simply a place but is in actual fact the people. "Some of the church people are in the media, we are all over the place," he said. "Don't confuse the building with the organisation or the organism... that's why people find it easy to criticise, because they don't understand what the church is. The church is only as valid as the people," he added.

"Whereever you are placed, whether as a journalist, a doctor or where have you, you ought to be making that significant difference," Dr Turnbull advised.

Speaking specifically on the issue of pari-mutuel wagering previously, however, Dr Turnbull had said that God’s word indicates that gambling in any form is contrary to the Will of God for a believer.

He further stated, “The experience of the gambler is similar to that of the alcoholic. He deludes himself that he is master of his life which is actually out of control. He denies he has any problem, even though his family disintegrates. He ends up with enormous debts, and even steals to cover his losses. The gambler may promise to quit, but rarely follows through unless he experiences a disaster which brings him face to face with the reality of his situation.”

11 Responses to “VI churches criticised for being too passive”

  • ABC (05/09/2013, 15:35) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    church and state should not mix
  • notes (05/09/2013, 15:42) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    many of the problems we face today are a direct result of slavery which is a RECENT institution decades removed.

    the CHURCH was complicit in the enslavement of our forbears and bears responsibility in the malaise we see in this society.

    so please stop giving these charlatans a venue to spread their 'morals'. if people want to be lied to and oppressed let them go to church
  • Seeker of the Truth (05/09/2013, 17:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hey NOTES - Sounds like you agree with Rev. Turnbull when he says the church is the people.
    • notes (05/09/2013, 18:10) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      I don't believe that at all. I believe, (and I can give hundreds of examples) that the Church has always been used by those in power (kings, dictators, or elected officials) to keep the PEOPLE under control and to deny them their rights.
      This 'moral authority' sanctioned slavery, pogroms, holocausts, genocides, repression, racism and countless forms of discrimination against the PEOPLE. the church isn't the PEOPLE, the church exists to keep the PEOPLE docile and obedient to authority.
      • shaw (06/09/2013, 00:05) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
        I totally agree. even in today's churches, if you don't tow the line, they ask you to leave, or members shun you, or they retaliate in some subtle way. The "morals" of some of the pastors are dictated in strict fashion with no compassion for individual circumstances or rights. As long as you pay your dues .. you will be OK.
  • Islandsource (05/09/2013, 17:24) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Churches are never to blame. People need to exercise personal responsibility. As a matter of fact: Church attendance has been declining in our society.
    We need to build-up these institutions and not attack them, especially, in this public manner. BVI-landers do not confuse our churches today with slavery.
  • qc (05/09/2013, 17:49) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    If you dance to the music of the flute you have to pay the piper.”
  • Observer (05/09/2013, 19:45) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    "Whereever you are placed, whether as a journalist, a doctor or where have you, you ought to be making that significant difference," Dr Turnbull advised. Good advise Dr. Turnbull, but some of them are making a muck and mischief in their professions where they should be witnessing to others.
  • Winston (05/09/2013, 22:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the church is just like the country on the fast decline
    • Hmm* (06/09/2013, 09:29) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      It should be on a decline don't you think? How long should fairy tales comfort otherwise intelligent people?...It is inevitable that the illusions fade over time, do you think a dead man will ever truly burst through the clouds one day on a white horse to save us all? It is a myth that has been perpetuated ever since his death and one day it must be understood that reality prevails in this world (and i 'KNOW', of no other worlds/realms where this logic fails, despite your "belief").

      Granted the children of powerfully indoctrinated fools will continue to be brought up to submit to this drivel, but i suspect that some day even indoctrination will not be enough...and by the comments in this post i sense the day is nearing :)

      I simply hope that those who've commented against the foolishness taught by the church have a profound understanding that they have an inherent responsibility to ensure that their moral compass points true...Too many of us submit to the illusion that righteousness is a function of ones level of religious commitment rather than a human quality that has become dormant as we've removed the onus from ourselves and left the invisible man in the sky completely in control of our moral capacity with his threat of eternal damnation and promise of heavenly bliss!!

      The problem there being, the invisible man in the sky is silent! And we common folk must defer to the "chosen" people to interpret his message for us. We must read the bible and forfeit our own interpretation and become a mindless followers subservient to our enlightened clergy. Silliness when you really dissect the inner workings of religion!
      • Observer (07/09/2013, 14:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        To Hmm...

        Then you do not understand Christianity at all. You point to a moral compass (another term for conscience). Why is it that humans have this, but not animals? You can look at the conscience as one of many devices that your spirit uses (intuition is another one) to communicate with God's Spirit (the invisible man in the sky as you put it). You can simply listen to your conscience or ignore it.

        Pick up the bible with an open mind and let the messages that flood your spirit be your interpretation. You don't need a pastor or any "chosen" person to interpret anything for you. These persons are just there to offer support and fellowship...nothing else. If you ignore your spirit then you become vulnerable to corrupt people (even some in the church) who take bible verses out of context and twist them for their own agenda.

        There is a lot of symbolism in the bible so you cannot just take all of it at face value. Some of it must be revealed to you through your spirit. But some of it will not be revealed and it is here that you must have faith. At the same time some of it can be decoded by using common sense. Can a man burn in a physical hell for eternity? What about going through a living "hell" in his mind where he is tormented day and night by regret and lost opportunity? The point is that some things can have different interpretations.

        You must use both your spiritual awareness and your physical brain and ask yourself how it is possible that the earth is billions of years old but civilization as we know it is only thousands (or at most tens of thousands) of years old. [You see...here again you need to look beyond the apparent statement that the earth is only 6,000 years old. And people use this apparent fact to try to discredit the entire bible].

        Look at the enormous jump in technology from the start of recorded history till now. It is exponential but we still cannot travel to the nearest star. Star travel is theoretically possible (worm holes and folding of space) and if man was millions of years old he would have proven the theory by now. He would have created fusion energy (like the sun does it) by now. Or do you believe he has not done these things because he was an ape for a large portion of the time? If so, when did he become sufficiently intelligent to start a civilization?

        So in conclusion, using all the faculties available to you (the bible, your brain, and your spirit) you will see that mankind WAS created by the "invisible man" and did not appear out of some slime pond and evolve over billions or millions of years.


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