Officially, the tallest building on Ambergris Caye Belize has two contenders, soon to be 4. The water tower, and Grand Wyndham Resort measure up at 5 stories or 60 ft tall. Source: Amanda Syme Sunrise Real Estate. Grand Baymen which is under construction is also in the mix. My Friend Aimee said that La Serine resort going up at the south end of the island will also be a 5-story building.
In answer to my title question, it has yet to be built and to qualify that further, I am speaking figuratively over actual height. It will be the new Sagebrush Church building. Church services are currently being held at the Paradise movie theatre and they are ready to grow into their own space.
The reason I was in attendance that day aside from listening to the band 😉 was for the after party. A groundbreaking ceremony and tacos. I had managed to hitch a ride with Town Council Member Severo Guerrero, (many of Town Board were there) and when we got to the church I noticed right away it was hugs and handshakes welcoming people through the door.
It was a packed house that came for the live service before the fiesta. Live with Pastor Todd Cook from New Mexico – usually, he is on the big screen.
This is where the tallest building metaphor comes in.
During his sermon, Pastor Todd was telling us how “The church is the people and we need to be the church”. Then he had us ask ourselves these questions: If the church was only me, how good would it be? He went onto say what kind of church would we be if everyone did what you do? In my head, I used the word community since I am not a church regular and over the next few days I took time to think about the answers.
He went onto tell us a pastor, prostitute joke. While we all laughed at his humor, the very idea of what he was joking about is what makes this future building tall. Treatment of other human beings. People will always remember how you make them feel. He inspired the room to give their best not their leftovers and to shine a light on the community and reach out to those who need a helping hand.
Todd went on to give an example that we do not just eat one meal a day, we need to feed our bodies with nutrition to keep going. The same goes for the generosity of spirit and walking a positive path in this life He encouraged everyone to practice daily and share within the community.
After the service, we headed across the bridge for the “taco party” and groundbreaking ceremony.
The band played again and then Pastor Todd gave a speech with good wishes to the Belize Campus and the construction process. To wrap up the party, the church elders and the couple responsible for the church start-up in Belize, did dirt turns to celebrate that it was finally happening.
This new building will be constructed with $6 million donated by members and benefactors. Sagebrush Church plans to grow and keep making a positive difference for Ambergris Caye residents. There are a lot of lost lonely people on this island and they could benefit from human comfort. The new church building will offer a safe place, for those that need some guidance and a place for anyone to feel welcome especially those that are cared little about. They will benefit from a sense of community and in many cases become adult role models.
Sagebrush actively tries to meet needs in the community. A good example of this is, the Church does occasional ongoing bike maintenance clinics for single moms. San Pedro has 2nd largest Planet Kids (children’s Sunday morning ministry) of all the Church’s 8 campuses.
Of course, it would not be me if I did not chime with this thought I had as I stood there eating my taco watching everyone milling around before the ceremony. For all you single ladies, interested in meeting a better quality guy than you are finding on tinder or at the bars, there are cute boys at church 😀
I asked one of the regular church attendees and financial supporter, co-owner of Camo Cantina (new lazer tag facility) and family man Jason Southwell a few questions.
How did Sagebrush come to be in Belize?
In 2014, Kyle and Cara Thomas, formerly brokers of the Coldwell Banker franchise in San Pedro started a small group meeting in their home. A small group is a group of Christians that meet regularly to read scripture and pray together, discuss problems and life circumstances, as well as hold each other accountable. The group started growing quickly and soon outgrew their house. They moved it weekly on Sundays above the Coldwell Banker building and started showing the Sunday messages from their old church, Sagebrush in New Mexico. They approached the church elders to see about making it an official campus of Sagebrush sometime soon thereafter. It grew into multiple services at this small location and eventually outgrew it all together. Now we have between 400 and 500 attendees at the movie theater across two services.
How do you feel that the church having its own building will impact the island?
What it does is gives Sagebrush the flexibility it needs to serve when they need to serve. Right now it’s tough to work around the theater’s schedule since it limits when we can do special events or outreach activities. Also, having space for each of our ministries is very important. For example, right now many of the small groups, including the teens, and the worship team (band) meet in the office by Tropic instead of in the theater. Having the space we need to reach the people we need to reach is important.
We also do monthly community activities, like free bike repair, that would benefit from a single base of operations. Our motto is “to know Christ and to make Christ known”. The building will make it easier to execute on the latter.
What is a benefit(s) of attending weekly church service that most people might not consider?
The church is great for many reasons. You certainly get to know a bunch of great people who are happy to see you and build great friendships with them. Also, Pastor Todd has a way with words that really get to the bottom of what you are going through at any point in your life. He’s excellent at showing you what God says about just about anything, and he does it in an entertaining way.
How has Sagebrush had a positive effect on your life?
It’s given me refreshed focus on my relationships and given my daughter and I things to work on together when we have our nightly prayer times.
What is something you would like people to know about the congregation?
We are a very welcoming group. It’s come as you are. We don’t need suits ties and dresses. I often go barefoot. Regardless how they dress, the people you meet will affect your life and do so in a positive way.
Can you please ask your daughter Tesla what her thoughts on Sunday School are?
She said, “it’s good”. She likes having a small group with her friends. She enjoys doing the captain’s corner worksheet every week which teaches her a memory verse and gives her a project to do that reinforces the lesson from the week. Kids get paid “cosmic cash” for doing things like memorizing their verse, bringing friends, etc. After church, you can go to a store to turn in your cosmic cash for toys or candy.