By anguillian October 3, 2016 10:24 Updated



It has long been recorded that tiny Anguilla has led the Caribbean, over more than half a century, in producing the majority of the Clergy serving in the Ministry of the Anglican Church – and the same can be said of the Methodist Church.

It was intriguing, and perhaps a matter of pride, to see the number of Anguillian Ministers, resplendent in their gowns, who came together from Anguilla and outside the island for the 175th Anniversary of the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba (NECA). They, in their majority, made their way from the grounds of the Scouts and Guides Ruthwill Auditorium to St. Mary’s Parish Church on Sunday afternoon, September 25, for a Concelebrated Eucharist to mark the Anniversary under the theme: “Celebrating Our History, Seizing the Moment, Embracing the Future”. The rear of the procession, of the “Men of the Cloth”, was brought up by the Right Reverend L. Errol Brooks, the top Anguillian Cleric, now in his 18th year as Bishop of the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba.

The count of Anguillian Anglican Priests would have been even higher if it was possible for all of them to have been in attendance from abroad – whether or not of the same Diocese. Those who were present and listed in the Order of the Concelebrated Eucharist were as follows:

Chief Celebrant: The Rt. Rev. L. Errol Brooks; Con-Celebrants: The Venable Franklin Reid, Archdeacon; The Venable Valentine Hodge, Archdeacon Emeritus; The Rev. Canon Joseph Hennis (the first Anguillian Priest and a former Educator, who delivered the sermon); Assistants: The Rev. Canon Emerson Richardson; The Rev. F. Menes Hodge; The Rev. Fr. Reid Simon (Antigua); The Rev. F. Terrence Rawlins (St. Maarten); The Rev. Fr. Richard Fahie; The Rev. Fr. Irad Hodge; and The Rev. Reginald Hodge, Deacon.

Meanwhile, a number of Anguillian lay persons led the procession carrying aloft signage of the twelve member islands of the Diocese: Anguilla, Aruba, Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, Nevis, Saba, St. Barths, St. Kitts, St. Martin/St. Maarten; St. Eustatius and Antigua.

Sitting in the reserved seats at the service were four of the Anguillian Methodist Ministers who served abroad and have now returned home as Supernumeraries: Rev. John A. Gumbs; Rev. Franklin Roberts; Rev. Joseph Lloyd; and Rev. Dunstan Richardson.

St. Mary’s Parish Church was filled to capacity by members of its congregation in The Valley, the Congregations of St. Augustine’s East End; and St. Andrew’s, Island Harbour, along with members of other Churches on the island.

In a message enclosed in the Order of the Eucharist, Bishop Brooks wrote in part: “My Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Today we continue our celebrations leading up to the one hundred and seventy fifth anniversary of our Diocese. We began on Saturday last with a pilgrimage. Today, in this Eucharist, we offer thanks to God for His innumerable blessings throughout the years. We thank Him for those who brought the gospel to our shores, the bishop and other clergy, lay persons, benefactors, synods and church councils who laid the foundation on which we build.

“We are pleased that several sons of the soil, who answered the call to the ordained ministry, are here to celebrate with us. We welcome the clergy from the other islands, our partners in mission from the other denominations, spouses, indeed all the faithful gathered.

“It is instructive to note that our branch of the Christian Church started in these parts in the 1660s. In 1824, as part of the effort to ‘ameliorate’ the conditions of the slaves, two dioceses were erected, namely: the Diocese of Jamaica and the Diocese of Barbados. These covered the entire Caribbean. In 1942, two dioceses were carved out of the Diocese of Barbados – The Diocese of Antigua, now the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba (NECA), and the Diocese of British Guyana, now Guyana.

“The Church in our Diocese has always sought to be faithful to the mandate of preaching the gospel to all persons, making disciples, baptizing and teaching. Apart from addressing the spiritual needs of our people, this Church, along with several of its counterparts, was in the vanguard of providing education and health services. Note that long before governments got involved in social development, the Church was the main purveyor and it continues to play its part in these areas of life. Let us not only look to the past but use our experiences to spur us on to do greater things for God.
“As we celebrate, let us recommit to living the Five Marks of Mission. These are as follows:
• To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom;
• To teach, baptize and nurture new believers;
• To respond to human need by loving service;
• To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation;
• To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

“Over the next twelve months, each of the twelve islands in the Diocese will have an opportunity to host its own celebrations. These will climax with celebrations on Antigua which will include the Fiftieth Session of Synod. I trust that these celebrations will be meaningful for our people.”

By anguillian October 3, 2016 10:24 Updated


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