REVEREND WEEKES LAID TO REST “Having Died He Still Speaks To Us”
Long-serving and retired Methodist Minister, the Reverend Cecil Osmond Anderson Weekes, 84, was laid to rest under the eve of the historic Bethel Chapel on Wednesday, June 10. His interment, next to the tomb of Reverend C. L. Carty, who died in 1994, followed a solemn Service of Thanksgiving in which, among other things, he was eulogised as a gifted preacher and one who, though dead, still speaks to all by his life and example.
It was a crowded service in the almost century-and-half old church building. The capacity crowd, which spilled over on the outside, comprised Anguilla Government officials and other members of the House of Assembly; top clergy of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, some forty other Methodist Ministers representing the circuits in Anguilla and the neighbouring islands; and other Ministers and Pastors representing the Anguilla Christian Council (including the Rt. Rev. Errol Brooks, Bishop of the North-Eastern Caribbean and Aruba) and the Anguilla Evangelical Association.
Reverend Otto Wade, Connexional President of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, said in part: “The Reverend Cecil O.A. Weekes was a gift from God to our Church…He served our Church with total commitment…He was a very able and gifted preacher. He preached what was called in one place, where I served, ‘the unadulterated word of God’. His sermons were soundly Biblical and edifying…He was a man I was so happy to follow.”
Reverend Franklyn E. Manners, President of the Leeward Islands District Conference, MCCA, stated among other things: “The first impression that one got of Reverend Weekes was that of a very calm and gentle soul; but those who have dealt with him, however, will tell you that it is hard to find someone who is stronger in his convictions and more firmer in matters of discipline. He was particularly strong as an interpreter of Methodist constitution and history; no less strong was he in their enforcement.”
The sermon was delivered by the Reverend Dr. Wycherley Gumbs, Superintendent Minister of the Anguilla Methodist Circuit. Referring to the life, ministry and example of Reverend Weekes, he interpreted and applied a text in the Book of Hebrews which he thought was fitting to the departed Minister. That text was: “Having died, he still speaks to us”.
He went on: “Reverend Weekes speaks volumes of character, of suitability of ministry; of being ordinary, yet being extraordinary. He was so much to many of us: the clergy to the pew; and the pew to the clergy and all those who came into contact with him…One thing stands out more than others: He gave his very best in whatever he did…He speaks to all of us today, and his word is ‘do your best for God”.
Other officiating Ministers were Reverend Dr. Joan Delsol Meade, Secretary of the Conference, Leeward Islands District, MCCA; who presided over the service; and Reverend Joseph Lloyd, Supernumerary Minister, Anguilla Methodist Circuit, who delivered some of the readings.
The Thanksgiving Service was greatly enhanced by the performances of the Circuit Youth Choir, the Bethel Senior Choir, the Ebenezer Church Choir, Pastor Philip Gumbs; and a group from the Church of God (Holiness) representing the National Day of Prayer Committee.
Reverend Weekes was born in Montserrat, but grew up in Anguilla. He served as a Methodist Minister in Jamaica, Guyana and in the Leeward islands for a total of 58 years. On retirement, he adopted Anguilla as his homeland and continued to be engaged in various areas of Methodist ministry. He died on May 15, 2015 following a period of illness.