The Anglican Church of Bermuda is as much a part of our Bermudian culture as the beat of the snare drum from the neighborhood Gombey troupe; or the refreshing taste of a sweet loquat in season. In fact, the Anglican Church has been a part of the Bermudian way of life from the very beginning. Aboard the Sea Venture on that fateful journey in June 1609, was a Priest of the Church of England, Rev’d Richard Bucke. Thus the ties between Bermuda and the Anglican Communion have a long, rich history.
As the national religious body for the beautiful island of Bermuda, the Anglican Church hopes to offer the same tranquility, serenity and peace that can be found in the scent of salt water, the view of the sunset and the sweet singing of the bluebird. We welcome you into a safe and Godly environment, where a love for Jesus Christ is supreme and service to others in the power of the Holy Spirit is paramount.
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‘First of all, then I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity’ (1 Timothy 2:1). These words of St. Paul could not be more appropriate given the political instability that is evident in our world today – following the Brexit vote, ongoing wrangles over the next US president and in our own little Island following the referendum on same sex marriage and subsequent issues in the House of Assembly – all of this at a time of terrorist attacks around the world from Orlando to Bangladesh and home invasions and a surge in violence in Bermuda.
The call to pray resonates also in our desire to move forward as a Diocese and the leadership vacuum in both Pembroke and Southampton parishes. So the challenge of the Archbishops at Pentecost for “Thy Kingdom Come” remains. And to that end every Thursday lunch time from 12:00 - 12:30 prayers will be made in the Warrior Chapel at the Cathedral.
Vocations I am grateful to God for the licensing of new lay readers and Eucharistic ministers in the Diocese and for others who are now in training. Yet, the harvest is plentiful and more workers are needed! In an attempt to encourage younger people to open themselves up for God’s call on their lives and to raise the opportunity of ministry in the church in Bermuda, the Advisory Board for Ministry and Evangelism Committee are hoping to host a special service on October 23 in the afternoon – setting this aside as ‘Vocations Sunday’. This will be preceded by other meetings on a regional basis around the Diocese.
To enable us to lead quiet and peaceable lives, we will be hosting a number of different discussions in the autumn, which I would like you to note in your diaries.
Race and the Church: The first relates to our shared history. A small group under the leadership of Grace Rawlins is gathering information together to look at the issue of race in the Church but with a different focus. This is under the banner Rooted in Faith: the contributions of black Anglicans to the life and ministry of the Church in Bermuda. We are seeking to gather stories, photographs, letters anecdotes or memorabilia with a view to holding seminars and publicising papers or even a book on the topic. If you have any such information, please forward it to Grace at the Diocesan Office. But in conjunction with this, we have also invited Rev. Rose Hudson Wilkin to Bermuda in late September. Rev. Rose is the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons in London. Originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica she will speak on her experience in the Church of the West Indies and the Church of England and also touch on the whole issue of race in the scriptures. The main events for her will be Saturday September 24th and the afternoon of Sunday September 25th.
Same Sex Marriage: Following the unanswered Referendum on Same Sex Marriage and Civil Unions, I am very aware of the need for healing within our community and the fact that these issues will be with us for some time as a country. As a Church we reject all prejudice and homophobia and are called to love, welcome and serve all members of our community without limit. Part of that includes listening to those who we perceive as different. There are those in our community who will perceive themselves as either ‘winners’ or ‘losers’, with the latter experiencing psychological pain and distress. We must be sensitive and have a generous and pastoral response to both. We have to live with the results and with one another in such a way that we can understand each other and to heal the wounds and move forward whilst not sacrificing our beliefs. To help us do so I have accepted an offer of help from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office and have invited two facilitators, Ruth Scott and Sandra Cobbin who have been overseeing shared conversations across the Church of England (http://www.sharedconversations.org). They will be present with us over the first weekend of November, 2016 to lead a pilot group of 18 people in the Diocese representing a cross section across age, race gender, sexuality to include ordained and lay persons in a shared discussion on the topic. This is not part of any decision-making process. The purpose of the conversation is not to change minds but to change the way in which people converse about human experiences where there are significant and conflicting differences of understanding.
Rest and Recreation: Finally, as summer is here and people are planning time with family and friends both at home and away – I do believe we need to recapture the gift of rest. It is so important to stop all the rushing and activity to re-connect with those around us and to enjoy God’s beautiful creation. I pray that each of you will use this time to take a deep breath, slow down for a period of time, pray, read, sleep and gather together. My family and I will be away for a period in July. Thank you for all you support and hard work this year. There is much that lies ahead! But for now the call from the Lord is to be still and know that I am God. May you have a truly blessed summer.
*Ordinand - someone who is training for Ordained ministry as a deacon or priest.
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