Deacon Steve Ashby and seminarian Noah Sutterisch each spent time in Belize this summer, experiencing the work of the church in a different context and continuing to build relationships in our companion diocese.
My month in Belize provided time in silence away from the busy world of my life in Cleveland to spend in deep, prayerful reflection at the beginning of my ordained ministry. The exposure to a new world of plant and animal life has broadened my appreciation for the grandness and beauty of God’s creation. Serving as deacon at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Belize City immersed me in a different culture and gave me the opportunity to learn their values and their social and political history as well as the role of the church in the situations unique to Belize.
One experience that stands out for me was participating in a funeral for two gang members. I had been taught to be cautious about going outside after sundown because of the prominent gang culture in the city. Yet, at the funeral, seeing their loved ones mourn for them as we held the service was an important lesson in humility for me. It was also a powerful example of what we mean when we speak of the love that God has for all God’s children and the grace that God extends to each of us equally as a result. - The Rev. Steve Ashby
I have been able to live a life of relationships, church, simplicity, silence, and prayer in Belize. I have had time to reflect on my last year of seminary and internship, the lessons learned, the perspective that comes with hindsight, and how I ought to see myself and others differently because of this new-found experience. And I had time to pray my petitions and intercessions to God, to ask God to change me according to where I feel called and where God sees fit. This is, in part, because of “go slow," the unoffical motto of Belize. It is one thing to say you are slowing down and another to live into it.
I was changed in Belize. My prayer life became healthier, my silliness was affirmed, and I heard from many people about their faith and their families. I learned all accomplishments are grace, a gift no matter how hard we work for them. - Noah Sutterisch