200th Anniversary Diocese of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands


Q:      What is a Diocese?

A:      In the Anglican Church, a Diocese is a territorial/geographical area that is administered by a Bishop. Initially known as The Diocese of Jamaica, the title was amended to include “and the Cayman Islands” which came under the jurisdiction of Jamaica in the 1960’s and which had a growing Anglican population.

Q:      When was the Church established in Jamaica?

A:      The Anglican Church – then known as the Church of England in Jamaica – came to Jamaica with the establishment of British rule on the island in the early 1660’s.

The first church building established was the Church of St. Jago de la Vega (now the Cathedral) in Spanish Town. It was built between 1661 and 1664 after British troops conquered the Spaniards who occupied the island previously. It is the oldest Anglican Cathedral outside of Britain.

Q:      Why are we only celebrating 200 years?

A:      The Rt. Rev. Christopher Lipscombe was consecrated in England on July 25, 1824 as the first Bishop of Jamaica. He arrived in Jamaica on February 11, 1825.  Prior to that, the Church operated under the authority of the Bishop of London. The distance made the supervision of priests difficult and as a result, the Church was controlled by the government which was dominated by the planter class who were slave owners. The growing awareness of the evil of slavery influenced the decision to establish the Diocese and appoint a Bishop who would be based in Jamaica and operate independently of the ruling class.During his 19 years as Bishop, Christopher Lipscombeput the Church on a sound administrative footing and also began its ministry to the enslaved population. Education was Bishop Lipscombe’s priority and he founded a number of schools.   

Q:      How is the Church serving and bringing hope to people?     

A:      – A pioneer in education, the Diocese operates today some 200 primary, preparatory, and secondary schools catering mainly to poor children. It also founded Church Teachers’ College in Mandeville from which many prominent Jamaicans have graduated.  
– Played a key role in the early development of Mico Teachers’ College (now The Mico University College) and Shortwood Teachers’ College
– Introduced the first training programme for nurses in Jamaica, and opened Kingston’s first private nursing home with operating facilities. This was later relocated and expanded to become the Nuttall Memorial Hospital in Cross Roads.
– Under the leadership of The Rt. Rev. Enos Nuttall, Bishop of Jamaica, organized relief and rebuilding of the City of Kingston following the devastating 1907 earthquake.
– Operates the Wortley Home for Girls, in Kingston; Clifton Boys’ Home, in Westmoreland and St. Monica’s Home in Chapelton, Clarendon, which provide a nurturing family environment for youngsters whom the Juvenile Court determines are in need of care and protection
– Provides counselling and training through the Mothers’ Union Parenting Programme conducted by churches island-wide
– Serves organisations advocating against gender-based violence and HIV discrimination

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