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Bishop’s back

Trevor Yearwood

Bishop’s back

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Three years after members of his congregation accused him of abandoning them in their hour of need, Apostle T. Wayne Bishop is back in Barbados – and heading a new church.He returned to the island about three weeks ago, for the first time in more than three years, after “preaching and ministering” in the United States.Each Sunday his Revelation Word Christian Centre holds a morning service at Grand Barbados hotel, attracting 35 to 40 people, including some members of the old congregation.Bishop was senior pastor at the New Light Word Centre, with headquarters in Country Road, St Michael, until early 2007, when he left the country.After his departure, the problems of the church, which falls under the New Covenant Ministries, came to light. They included a huge debt and some differences of opinion on how things should be done.The property, including the Dove Conference Centre, was eventually sold by the Barbados National Bank (BNB) in 2008 to Sanctuary Empowerment Centre, another faith-based organisation.Bishop said it was not solely his decision but that of all trustees to sell the Country Road property, with a view to paying off the debt and using the remainder of the receipts to buy or build new headquarters.“Because the interest rate was not fixed on the mortgage on the property, it went from about $10 000 a month to $25 000 a month in six months and that was a very difficult thing to pay, thus all the plans to move,” Bishop told the DAILY NATION.He added: “The trustees made decisions to no longer function as that church and some of them moved out to start their own church and then others went in different places.No mystery“I had resigned as a senior pastor prior to my departure to start the other church in the US, and as a result of that the church then, obviously, and building would have been vacant and there, so the bank then would have done what the bank needed to do,” he explained.Bishop also said there was no mystery about his departure since “my letter of resignation was read to the congregation” and it was known that he was “going to establish [a church] in the US which would eventually support and help what was happening here in Barbados”.He dismissed the notion that he had picked the worst possible time to leave the Barbados flock.“There comes a time that [after] you build, you have to be able to entrust it to the hands of others,” he said.“The church does not belong to me and there are other things that God would have me to do in the Kingdom, and if God were to say ‘move’, then one must be prepared to move. But a pastor was appointed and set before the congregation . . . .“I am not able to tell you what went wrong with them after I left and what decisions were made. All I can tell you is that they made a decision to start their own thing and to move on, and when they did that they jeopardised the integrity of the future of the church.”Bishop said it pained him to see the demise of his old church, but sometimes a bad thing “can turn out to be extremely positive”.