THE 39TH MEETING OF THE PROVINCIAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH IN THE PROVINCE OF THE WEST INDIES
WE the members of the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity of the Church in the Province of the West Indies at the 39th Triennial Meeting in Barbados at Divi Southwinds, St Lawrence, Christ Church, November 15 – 19 2015, GREET you in the name of our Risen and Ascended Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Synod of the Province gathered under the theme; “Anglicans: Celebrating and Sharing our Gifts for Mission and Ministry.” It was convened at the Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels on Sunday, 15th November, 2015 with the Most Rev. Dr. the Honourable John Holder, Archbishop, as President and Preacher. In his charge the Archbishop stated that “we assemble full of hope, committed to the task of mission and ministry encouraged by words from the letter to the Hebrews (12:1) to “…run with perseverance the race that is set before us,”
He pointed out that the theme highlighted three activities that should characterize Anglicanism in the region. These being celebration, sharing our gifts and engaging in mission and ministry. He charged us to celebrate the uniqueness of being Christian and Anglican. The challenge facing us he noted in the Province “is one of keeping Anglicanism fresh and relevant with a theologically sound and convincing voice with respect to the many issues that confront us in our dioceses”. The Five Marks of Mission adopted by the Anglican Communion, which delegates would be reflecting on, were presented as signposts on the journey of faith. He further invited us to use the Marks as a means of sharpening our focus as “we engage in the type of action that can transform lives and communities” in the continued proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Keynote speaker at the Synod was Dr Anna Kasafi Perkins, Senior Programme Officer, Quality Assurance Unit, University of the West Indies and a Roman Catholic Theologian/Ethicist by training.
Dr Perkins’ presentation was entitled, “A Strange Kind of Obligation: Anglicans Celebrating and Sharing our Gifts for Mission and Ministry”. The presentation invited the Synod to recognize the fact that with a gift there is always an assumption of giver and receiver. When the gift is given and received with an attitude of thankfulness it places on the receiver “a strange obligation to reciprocate” in sharing and passing it on. Creating an acrostic using the initials C.P.W.I. she spoke of the gifts of Anglicanism in the West Indies being apparent in at least four areas: (1) Caribbean-ness, (2) Presence (3) Wisdom (4) Influence. In elaborating on each area, Dr Perkins affirmed the need for the Church to widen its vision of Ministry and to incorporate all the gifts in the ‘Body of Christ’ for the service of Christ and the building up of His Church.
The discussions of Synod were also informed by the following written papers:
- Missional Imperatives for the Anglican Church in the Caribbean – The Most Reverend Drexel Gomez
- CPWI: Socio –economic Context – Professor Patrick Bryan
- Social Enterprise and Equity: Laughing in Stormy Weather – Professor Emeritus Neville C Duncan
- What is the Point of the Fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Church? – Professor Elizabeth Thomas- Hope
The Synod received reports from five clusters, each looking at a Mark of Mission and informed by the keynote address and papers received. A number of resolutions were tabled and discussed and recommendations made for specific action in the Dioceses of the Province. Of particular note are the following:
- Resolution #4, which gives support to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), calling upon the Governments of Member States of the Caribbean Community which are signatories to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ but have not yet acceded to its appellate jurisdiction, to urgently initiate positive action.
- Resolution #9 giving support to groups and persons within the Caribbean now demanding reparations for the slave trade and chattel slavery now recognized as crimes against humanity.
- Women in the Episcopate: The Synod was informed that the Province has now achieved the two-thirds majority of the eight Dioceses in support of the ordination and consecration of women to the episcopate. A process is expected to follow that will involve amendments to the Provincial Canons en-route to implementation.
- Action Plan: An action plan coming out of recommendations of the clusters and coordinated by Dr. Hensley Sobers and his team of facilitators was endorsed by the Synod for implementation within the dioceses.
Insightful and challenging daily reflections, informed by the theme and Marks of Mission, were led by the Reverend John Rogers of St George Parish Church, Barbados.
The Synod was pleased to have with us and to receive greetings from: Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion; the United Society (Us), formerly USPG, brought by Mrs. Janette O’Neill, General Secretary of the Society as well as from Rev Rachel Carnegie of Anglican Alliance
The presence of Mr. Habib Nadir, Regional Representative of United Society, Mr. Clifton Nedd, Regional Representative of the Anglican Alliance and Mrs. Jennifer Maynard, Provincial President of the Mothers’ Union, was also acknowledged.
Congratulations were extended to the Bishop elect of Guyana, Father Charles Davidson. The Synod assured him of the continued prayerful support of the Province in the new ministry to which he has been called and set apart.
Our thanks to His Grace, the Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of Barbados, as well as the clergy and people of the Diocese for the gracious hospitality extended to members of the Synod.
In light of the foregoing, we leave Provincial Synod strengthened in our fellowship in Christ and more determined to follow and make Christ known and worshipped in our several dioceses.
November 19, 2015