FIRST ANGLICAN SYNOD IN ANGUILLA SINCE 1986 Bishop: “We Have A Goodly Heritage”

By anguillian October 26, 2012 11:48

FIRST ANGLICAN SYNOD IN ANGUILLA SINCE 1986 Bishop: “We Have A Goodly Heritage”


The 48th session of the Anglican Synod in Anguilla was the biggest event seen in Anguilla in recent times. St. Mary’s Parish Church, in The Valley, where the opening Solemn Evensong was held on Sunday, October 21, overflowed to capacity.Many persons, unable to find a seat inside, were accommodated under a tent at the entrance to the church. But they were adequately in a position to follow the proceedings through the provision of a screen and a public address speaker on the outside.


It was the first Anglican Synod to be held in Anguilla since the historic one in 1986, when the Diocese of Antigua was renamed the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean andAruba.


The special service commenced with an impressive procession from the grounds of the nearby Scouts and Guides Ruthwill Auditorium. It comprised priests and lay representatives from all twelve islands which make up the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean andAruba. Their entrance into the densely-crowded church was heralded by a large number of white-robed young people, a welcome indication of the involvement of the youth in the affairs of the various parishes and the diocese on a whole.


The rear of the procession was brought up by Anguillian-born top cleric in the sub-region, the Right Reverend L. Errol Brooks OBE, Bishop of the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean andAruba. His officiating at the mass service and presiding over the elaborate week-long synod sessions were indications of his tremendous responsibilities as spiritual leader of the Diocese.


The welcome remarks were delivered by Venerable Archdeacon, Valentine Hodge, who serves as Priest-in-Charge ofSt. George’sParish Church,Basseterre, St. Kitts. He was particularly grateful to all persons who assisted with the preparations for the Synod; and for the large turnout of people from throughout the island.


The presence of Governor Alistair Harrison, Chief Minister, Hubert Hughes, Deputy Governor, Stanley Reid, and other Government officials, the Speaker, Mrs. Barbara Webster-Bourne, and members of the House of Assembly, was note worthy. Equally note worthy the attendance of Ministers and Pastors representing the Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches, part of the Anguilla Christian Council, and of the protestant churches grouped under the Anguilla Evangelical Association, all accompanied by members of their congregations.

The theme of the Solemn Evensong was Celebrating Our Heritage;Participating in God’s Future on which Bishop Brooks based his sermon. “It is wonderful to see so many of our clergy and lay people from across the twelve islands of this Diocese at this service,” he began. “Members of the clergy, thanks for all that you so, sometimes against great odds, do to build God’s Kingdom in this part of His Vineyard. Members of the laity, thank you for the supporting and encouraging roles which you play. We have a goodly heritage. Others may tell us otherwise, but we do have a goodly heritage and we must continue to appreciate it.”


Bishop Brooks was speaking in relation to an expression in the Book of Psalms where the psalmist wrote: “I have a goodly heritage”. The Bishop went on: “In saying this, the psalmist was rejoicing in the evidence of the goodness of God in the life of his people. He was gratefully acknowledging the existence of men like Abraham, Joseph, Moses and others whose great faith and courage had led Israel over many a hazardous mile. He was seeing again the prophets of preceding centuries who were raised up by God to bring his people under judgment and to put their feet on the right path again…”


Bishop Brooks equated the present time to that of the psalmist’s day. “I would like us to nail this down as the first truth tonight,” he continued. “Like the psalmist, we, in this Diocese, have a goodly heritage. That heritage includes our trust in God and our belief that we have a destiny under God.The question is whether we are going to choose that part of our heritage – those persons who have held that trust in God.” He went on to relate how the Anglican Church “is a member of that great family of churches known as Anglicans derived from the Church of England” and how the religious and Christian influence spread throughout the British Isles including the Caribbean.


“We have a great heritage in the lives, in the faith and witness of those men and women who gave up their homes, families and friends to come to our shores to bring the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he continued. “We have a great heritage in the men and women in each of our islands who, in spite of the challenges, even within their own families, persevered in carrying the torch of the Gospel and who, in sometimes ordinary ways, brought others to the faith. We have a goodly heritage in those who gave finances and property for the work of the church. We have a great heritage in the contributions that this Diocese has made in areas of social development, education, health and welfare.”


The service was followed by a considerable period of meeting and greeting outside St. Mary’s Church, and refreshments on the grounds of the Scouts and Guides Ruthwill Auditorium.

By anguillian October 26, 2012 11:48


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