THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF FR SAMUEL KNIGHT’S CONSECRATION AS A PRIEST
In addition to the usual celebration of the nativity of the Christ child, the Anglican churches in Anguilla had a lot to celebrate during this Christmas season! The Reverend Samuel Theodore Josiah Knight, an Antiguan by birth, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his consecration as a priest! The parish of St Mary’s with St Augustine and St Andrew in Anguilla has been blessed with the ministry of Fr Knight over the past two years and was doubly blessed to be the home in which he celebrated this auspicious milestone in his life as a priest!
Fr Knight’s golden anniversary celebrations began on Thursday December 18th with a gala banquet at Da’Vida’s in Crocus Bay when about one hundred parishioners and well-wishers came together to pay tribute to this humble giant of a man. Several of Fr Knight’s relatives and special friends were in attendance at the dinner including his cousins Ilma and Sharon James, his godson the Very Rev Dr Belgrave Pelle, Dean of New York, his colleague and compatriot Rev. Dr. D. Kortright Davis, and Mr Rex James of Jamaica, who delivered the keynote address. His former student, now Bishop Errol Brooks, penned this accolade in a booklet prepared to commemorate the occasion: “ Fifty years on in the ordained ministry, his zeal for God and his church is not diminished. He is committed to caring for those in his care. He is energetic, witty and given to bringing out the best in young and old. The music ministry in our parish is being enhanced more by his presence and expertise.” These sentiments were echoed by all in attendance. Among Fr Samuel Knight’s numerous contributions to the music ministry of the Anglican church is the composition of the Missa Santa Cecilia which is widely used throughout the diocese.
Fr Knight’s music ministry is epitomized by his untiring efforts to successfully motivate choirs to undertake challenging master pieces and various sacred musicals. It is therefore not surprising that his anniversary celebrations continued on Saturday night with a first for Anguilla – the staging of a Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” composed by Gian-Carlo Menotti and performed by the members of the Anglican Church Women’s Association (ACWA) with community assistance and directed by Fr Knight. The opera was performed to highly appreciative audiences who sat enthralled throughout the two performances which were held on Saturday December 20 and Saturday December 27 at St Mary’s Anglican Church.
Sunday December 21, the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, marked the actual anniversary of Fr Knight’s consecration to the priesthood and was celebrated by a special mass and service of rededication at St Mary’s Anglican Church. Rev Dr D. Kortright Davis delivered the sermon and music was provided by visiting organist from Antigua, Mr Winston Bailey, while Fr Knight himself directed the choir and ACWA in a memorable performance of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Other special performances included an offertory dance by Mrs Celia James-Connor, a solo by the Very Rev. Belgrave Pelle and an anthem by Shekinah Choir directed by Pastor Philip Gumbs of the Church of God of Holiness. The Right Rev. Bishop L Errol Brooks of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba officiated Fr Knight’s renewal of his priestly vows.
Having served in several Caribbean islands, in the US and in Canada, we at St Mary’s parish, and by extension the whole of Anguilla, are certainly blessed to have had the honour to celebrate this golden occasion with our beloved Fr Samuel T. Knight.
To God be the glory!!