Presbyterian Church of Belize
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church
The oldest Presbyterian church in Belize is St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Belize City, which was established in 1850 by Scottish settlers with public financial support. The church was originally affiliated with the Free Church of Scotland and the first pastor served for almost 25 years. During the early years of the 20th century, the church was open intermittently. At times it was administered by other branches of the Protestant church and considered merging with the Methodists and Anglicans. The church maintained its Presbyterian heritage in spite of these merging efforts.
Formation and development of the denomination
Up until this point, the church's reach was confined largely to the European population of Belize City, but in 1958 a Presbyterian missionary Don Manuel Beltran – a Maya – was sent by the National Presbyterian Church in Mexico to work with Maya speakers in Belize, gradually attracting congregations in Cristo Rey, San José, Patchakan, San Victor and Concepcion. St. Andrews Presbyterian Church joined with Mayan and Spanish-speaking congregations and formed the national Presbyterian church of Belize in 1987, with support from the Presbyterian Church in America Mission to the World. A ministry among Belize's Chinese population was established in 1988.
There are some 17 churches and church plants in the country today.
Seminary and education
Belize Presbyterian Theological Seminary was founded in 2004 to train pastors. Classes are held in English, which is the official language of Belize. The students are Mayan, Chinese and Creole and study over a period of three years. The President of the Seminary is Rev. Refael Ku, the board of directors composed of Belizean pastors, church elders and MTW representatives. The Presbyterian Church of Belize also sponsors primary schools and high schools.
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