Bethel needs to act

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The time for change is near.

The 2006-2007 academic year is fast approaching and change should be part of it.

Bethel Assembly Christian Academy has been participating in the North Carolina Christian Athletic Association almost since the school’s inception.

There, they have enjoyed much success including both boys and girls state championships in basketball, a volleyball title and even a flag football trophy.

Over the past five years or more, that association has paid fewer and fewer dividends to the local school. This year they are down to only two teams – Bethel and Ahoskie Christian School – in their local conference. And while that may serve the Warriors well, it no longer is good for the Eagles.

The time has come for Bethel to make a bold move – leave their current affiliation and join the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association.

I think both the NCISAA and Bethel would benefit from such a move particularly since the Eagles have become more and more solid as an institution in recent years.

I know competitiveness would take some time in such sports as volleyball, softball and baseball. Still, we all know that Bethel is a basketball school and they could compete in that sport right away.

I’m not saying Joe Mizelle’s club would be fighting Terra Ceia Christian School, Northeast Academy and Ridgecroft School for the championship, but they might. And if they didn’t this year, it wouldn’t be too long coming.

Tough competition makes you better and the basketball Eagles already live by this philosophy, so why not make it part of your overall athletic program.

The Eagles would be a good fit for the Tarheel Independent Conference whose current makeup includes not only Terra Ceia, but also Pungo Christian Academy. Likewise, many of the other schools, including Northeast and Ridgecroft, have strong relationships with the faith-based community.

I know making such a tough decision would not come easy for Bethel or Askewville Assembly of God, the church that runs the school. There are a lot of things to consider and a lot of old philosophies to change.

Academically, Bethel is continuing to improve under the direction of The Rev. R.O. Denton Jr., pastor of the church, and Chris Howerton, the school’s principal. Great strides have been made to make the school an institution of learning that is second to none.

They may not be there yet, but they are getting better each year.

The same can be true of athletics. The Eagles can push themselves to be better by moving out on a bold new path.

I know there are things the church faithful won’t like and they have every right not to. Some of the schools in the TIC allow dress and dance from cheerleaders that many Christian people find objectionable, but Terra Ceia Christian School has managed to deal with those problems with their Christian witness completely intact.

If they Knights can do that, so can the Eagles.

I know the decision wouldn’t come easy and there would have to be some compromise. Likely, the TIC would require a boys sport such as soccer or eight-man football in the fall. But that too could be beneficial for the Eagles.

I don’t know if everything would work out to get the Eagles into the TIC and off to face better competition, but it is certainly a move worth exploring.

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome. You can reach me at or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.