The Primatial Cross, the primary symbol of his authority as spiritual leader of the Church in the Province of the West Indies, was presented to The Most Rev. Howard Gregory last Thursday (October 10) at an historic Recognition Service to mark his election as the 13th Archbishop of the West Indies.
The passing of the Cross by retired Archbishop, The Most Rev. The Hon. Dr. John Holder, marked the highpoint of the Service at the Cathedral of St. Jago de la Vega, which was attended by Bishops, clergy and laity from the eight Dioceses in the Province, three Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States, as well as civic leaders and members of the ecumenical fraternity. The other symbols of his office that were received by Archbishop Gregory included the Bible which represents the Word of God, which he is called to proclaim; a Prayer Book; Chrism; Bread and Wine; as well as, the Constitution and Canons of the Province.
Archbishop Gregory’s wide-ranging Sermon was based on the theme chosen for the Provincial Synod held in Trinidad and Tobago in May – “Being disciples in our Caribbean Context: Called Empowered, Sent.” He explained that this theme influenced the five-point Action Plan which will guide ministry across the Province over the next three years.
Focussing on God’s call to Jeremiah and the prophet’s initial resistance, he noted that the call to intentional discipleship and an alternate lifestyle is rejected as an inconvenience by many individuals and congregations who prefer “to live in the past.” However, he said discipleship is grounded in a personal relationship with Christ and with members of the faith community.
As in the case of Jeremiah, he said the Church in the Province of the West Indies is called to be the agents of God “in speaking truth to power in today’s Caribbean.” He added that, as a prophetic voice, its role involves advocacy and education; hospitality for victims; and may even require mobilization of people in the face of social injustice or destruction of the environment.
The Archbishop also cautioned against preoccupation with maintaining the rituals and institutional life of the Church and asserted that the Action Plan offered an opportunity for each Diocese to explore new avenues and expressions of mission and ministry.
Archbishop Gregory is the first native-born Jamaican serving as Bishop of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands to hold this office. As Archbishop, he is the primary minister of the Church’s Liturgy, he chairs meetings of the Province and he is its link with the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The eight Dioceses of the Province are: The Diocese of Barbados; the Diocese of Belize; the Diocese of Guyana; the Diocese of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands; the Diocese of Northeastern Caribbean and Aruba; the Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago; and the Diocese of The Windward Islands.
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