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VI has placed God on the backburner –Pastor Walter D. Barrett

- Calls for churches to take a firm stance on festival during holy observances like Easter
Pastor at the New Life Baptist Church Mr Walter D. Barrett is personally against the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival coinciding with Easter observances. Photo: Facebook
The 2017 Virgin Gorda Easter Festival officially opens this evening, April 15, 2017. Photo: VINO/File
The 2017 Virgin Gorda Easter Festival officially opens this evening, April 15, 2017. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It is an often enough uttered sentiment that the church has become mum, however, at least one man of the cloth is not pleased with what he felt was a “passive” response from his other colleagues regarding them not having a problem with a festival occurring simultaneously with the observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

Mr Walter D. Barrett, Pastor at the New Life Baptist Church, in an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) on Friday April 14, 2017, said he believes that there are too many instances where the church should make a stand on that they are not, such as homosexuality, crime, injustice from the point of view of oppression, including the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival that officially begins today.

He also made it clear that his views are his own and does not represent any religious organisation.

Church has become silent

“I think that a lot of times as pastors and churches, we kind of take a passive approach to things that we need to take a stand on,” he said. “The church is not there to uphold or create controversy, but when there is controversy, the church is there to direct persons back to what ‘thus sayeth the lord is’,” he said.

“We need to as the church on a whole, be able to speak out on matters that are not necessarily controversial per se but matters that when we are expected to make a stand as a church and make a sound as a church, a lot of times you get silenced. Now in these little circles, you hear persons talk and say ‘how come we never said anything about this or that?’ There is no voice. The church has become silent,” he bemoaned.

There is a problem

According to him, his remarks stemmed from an article on BVI Platinum News, where two pastors were interviewed and in a nutshell said they had no objections to the annual festival, which is in its 50th year, being held one day following Easter Friday, and ending on Easter Monday.

“Easter is definitely one of those seasons and times that the world recognises, and to down play it and to have competing secular activities around that time. I think the church needs to say “yeah there is a problem”. We need to recognise who we are,” he insisted.

God placed on the back burner

He said the VI, despite being a Christian nation, has placed God on the back burner.

“Where is god? How can we put God on a back burner, celebrate secular stuff that doesn’t really look at the history of the Virgin Islands or anything?”

Put aside fear

It is “an open secret” that the church and state has become so interwoven into each other, from being spiritual advisors and counsellors to politicians, to funding the church’s activities and donations.

When asked about the possible hesitance on the part of the church to “rock the boat”, he responded that at the end of the day as a Christian, your allegiance is not to man but God, and one’s stand should be for the almighty.

“…but if state contradicts God, then you have to put aside any fear of what man may do and do what God expects you to do.”

Church has blurred many lines

When further questioned on the reason why he believes the church is being so silent, he said that the church and the world are almost twins.

“Honestly I think that a lot of churches don’t even know what their stance is. I think we have blurred a lot of lines that think the church is looking so much like the world sometimes, so to pull back and to jump back into being the church it is kind of hypocritical. There is a fear of people won’t take us seriously so we just sit very quietly in our corners and play it safe,” he remarked.

More Pastor Cline’s needed

An interview like this could not be complete without pointing to the recent fiasco with another fellow man of the cloth-Pastor John I. Cline- who was sacked for speaking his views and the possible if any repercussions it could have had, or is having on the church’s already timid voice.

His response? Take a leaf out of Pastor Cline’s book, who knew that God would have taken care of him in every situation.

“I think right across the board, that’s how our religious leaders and our churches need to be. There should not be a fear of being chastised or being oppressed.”

He said persons need to speak out despite knowing that the majority would not be in your favour.

“I speak out”

We also wanted to know why his voice was not heard in the areas mentioned.

“I speak out, I work at the Prison, I speak out in the areas that I am in, I speak out in the church, I speak out in the community, on the streets, I speak out in the courts. I speak out where I am present. This was an issue that I read in an article. I read the passive response as far as I am concerned and it was one that prompted me and I think it warranted some sort of response.

30 Responses to “VI has placed God on the backburner –Pastor Walter D. Barrett”

  • bad boy (15/04/2017, 09:00) Like (14) Dislike (4) Reply
    Let the church say AMEN
  • wize up (15/04/2017, 09:12) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    money and power are very enticing thereafter leads to corruption: you hear from the Church and other members of this community when things are no longer going in their favor(when ting good not one word)....don't be fooled God is still in full control and evil will never ever triumph over good because God is good and his mercy is ever lasting(don't mind the noise, keep the faith)
  • H. C. (15/04/2017, 09:14) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Very well said. The church must become the church again. And we can't be afraid to speak the Word of God. What is He saying about these issues? That's what our voice should be. And one voice.
    Blessings Pastor Barrett.
  • yes man (15/04/2017, 09:24) Like (11) Dislike (4) Reply
    Spot on Pastor, if we are a nation built on God then let's act like a nation built on God. Let's give VG the Tuesday as a holiday since Monday is already a holiday. They can begin their festivities on Sunday night after the waster observance and have the Monday and Tuesday to do their thing. That way everybody will be happy but we have honored God by respecting his death and resurrection. We must teach our young children to give God what is due to God and to man what is due to man. Nothing is wrong with our celebration but we must always honor the things of God FIRST. There are children today who never knew that there was a time you could hear a pin drop on a Sunday. It is God who has kept us, is keeping us, and will keep us.
  • Prophet (15/04/2017, 09:34) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Who has ears, let them hear.
  • Truth (15/04/2017, 09:41) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    You are absolutely correct Mr Barrett. On the back burner until something happens, the run and call on the same God that was place on hold once things are comfortable again. They seem to forget that it was all GOD that made thing comfortable for them. The cycle is repeated over and over and over. No thank you, hardly any change of life etc. Just using God when they need HIM. The BVI needs to wake up. Suppose God treats the BVI the ways ts been treating HIM? How would the feel if HE stops solving issues and lets things happen? What will they do, how will they feel? Wow WOW
    That back burner action has repercussions.

    Thank you for not being fearful and taking a stand as someone many looks up to. Thank you for this read. I pray others read, comment and share.

    God bless you Mr Barrett and continue speaking out
  • Bohannon (15/04/2017, 09:43) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    Speak truth to justice pastor. Be not afraid.
  • Hmm (15/04/2017, 09:47) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    The entire world has done this because they're eating up all the is fake and so are the planets earth is flat with a firmament above that showeth his handy work! He sits in the heavens above and sees all and told us everyman jack was going to be deceived by the god of this world
  • Back slider (15/04/2017, 10:16) Like (6) Dislike (12) Reply
    Today is his sabbath he should be in north sound in church talk that
    • @ back slider (15/04/2017, 12:03) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      this deep
    • the rock (15/04/2017, 19:03) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      Yea, you got the power to judge the man..but it do sound like you were hurt when he made his personal decision to worship elsewhere, now you talk that, lol, lol!
  • church (15/04/2017, 10:45) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I personally think the church need to do some home cleaning. 1st the church elect a head of the Christian councel every so often. They do not have a merting in years because they can get along. God people cannot operate a functional christian council only sign papers to stop an event. Chhrch people are the worse SMH.
  • Amen (15/04/2017, 11:08) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I stand with you!
  • Opportunist (15/04/2017, 11:36) Like (4) Dislike (8) Reply
    Where was he hiding when the gay law was passing?
  • Strupes (15/04/2017, 11:38) Like (7) Dislike (31) Reply
    Why these island people don't keep out of we sauce?
  • Really? (15/04/2017, 12:27) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Really Opportunist? A gay law was passed in the Virgin Islands? I hope you spoke out as you were the only one who knew.
  • shark (15/04/2017, 15:11) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    all criminals that come here to these virgin islands came under a church.from the time they get one them Benjamin Franklin $100.00 bill them forget about church and all.
  • Just Commenting (15/04/2017, 15:59) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Aint we not a God fearing people but whether it be Easter ,Christmas, whenever, the name of the Lord should not be praised on these occasions, but always and 24-7 every single day of the year.At times we blah blah blah and we dont practise what we preach. Everyday is God's day and we should always be reverent on all those days not just on Saturdays and Sundays, or Good Friday and Christmas Day we are so Holy and Hollier and all the other days we lay up, but we cant lay up on Christ as He sees and knows it all
  • Good friend (15/04/2017, 19:13) Like (4) Dislike (11) Reply
    Pastor the reason you think differently is because your belief is Adventist and not a true Sunday worshipper please come home Love your sermons no shame in coming back to your flock
  • Truth (15/04/2017, 19:55) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    wow a can o worms to open here, church, easter, Christmas, history, children of Israel, laws statues and commandments, blessings for obedience of the laws statues and commandments, curses for disobedience of the laws statues and commandments, Deuteronomy 28, beardless men, women in pants, women pastoring churches, people paying tithes when they do not have to, slave mentality, celebrating birthdays, we have strayed far from when our fore fathers were delivered out of the land of Egypt.
    Check this out
  • bad boy (15/04/2017, 23:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Lufta (16/04/2017, 06:21) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply

    When them postors stop mess with other man woman who them supposedly counseling, then I might give what them saying some value. Hypocritical them pastors is.

  • churches (16/04/2017, 06:39) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    All these churches with their definition of the Bible and wanting to make everyone follow their beliefs. I maintain a direct spiritual connection. Don't want to get caught up with the competition of "religion" as it is churches trying to prove they are better than the other and a lot of hypocrites attending church with unhealthy minds. They leave church and continue with their judgemental thoughts and behavior and do nothing to improve themselves to make this world a better place for everyone to live peacefully. If the churches want to do good, help our younger generation by showing them love and understanding. They sit back and watch them destroy themselves but what is actually being done to help guide them? There is your homework all you supposed leaders of the churches who want to do good. Save the last generation and the next. And a word of advice, don't condemn the youth by shouting praises on Sunday, get yourselves out in the communities and get to know them show them that you genuinely care and look out for their betterment. Follow up with them to make sure they are ok. Be good and do good! Blessed Easter to All.
  • Christian-Pagan Pagan-Christian (16/04/2017, 09:06) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
    If Christians themselves knew their own history; the history of the people they conquered and how the religion itself originated from a conquered people, people like Pastor Barett wouldn't be getting up saying these kinds of things. None of the "holy days" are holy and all originated when the Christians tried to convert the Pagans by moving their special worship days to Pagan holidays in order to trick the Pagans into worshipping God and assimilating them into Christianity. There is a lot of Paganism in Christianity and Easter and Christmas are two primary ones. If more Christians would get off their high horse from trying to preach down to others and actually learn about themselves and other religions they'd see we're all a bunch of lost hypocrites and just let people enjoy their own fun and be in peace. How many churches here put Christmas trees in their halls or host Easter egg hunts and think nothing of it? How is that any different from seeing a parade today?
  • What? (16/04/2017, 13:36) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    I was going to respond to Christian-Pagan Pagan-Christian, but your very name says it all. Yuh confused.
    • Christian-Pagan Pagan-Christian (16/04/2017, 16:25) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      I'm not confused but literate. Try doing some research for yourself if you don't believe me.

      We are all too old to accept what we were taught as children with no question.
  • Sting (16/04/2017, 14:11) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Clearly some missed the reason for this article. The nation has to come back to God. All those turning this article into a denominational debacle, check yourselves.
  • God is Alive (16/04/2017, 21:48) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I fear God with a passion, because i know he is real. I cant be brave like some of you bloggers here saying certain things or even think it in my heart. Im already feel bad enough about the mistakes I've made....
  • I love you Lord (17/04/2017, 07:09) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    If we forget God, satan will rule
    If we forget God, a nation is ruined.

    A nation without God, the people perish.
    BVI, before we were doing this well, our foundation was built on God. Lest we forget.

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