The Rt. Rev. Garth Minott, has been encouraged to adopt the characteristics of Barnabas, the Christian Saint, whose Feast Day was celebrated on Saturday, June 11, which coincided with Bishop Minott’s ordination and consecration as the seventh Suffragan Bishop of the See of Kingston.
The challenge was extended by The Rt. Rev. Michael Maxwell, Bishop of Barbados, who delivered the Sermon at the historic Service held at the Kingston Parish Church. Noting that Feast Days were designated to celebrate noble men and women who served God with dedication, in order to inspire others to do likewise, he commended St. Barnabas and his model of ministry to Bishop Minott.
He cited Acts 11:24 which referred to the work of Barnabas, who was credited for the growth of the Christian Church in Antioch, which in its day, was a multicultural, secular society. “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” Bishop Maxwell explained that Barnabas, who was originally called Joseph, was sent to Antioch by the Apostles who recognized his gift of encouragement; and his mission was to build on the work of those who had planted the Church in that region.
“As Bishops, we are called to be discerners of God’s grace in the life of people. We must be their encouragers, influencers and supporters to strengthen their faith. We must equip the saints for the work of ministry… and help them to withstand the secular pressures. Kingston must be as Antioch was for Barnabas,” Bishop Maxwell asserted.
He encouraged his brother in the Episcopal ministry to build on the foundation laid by his immediate predecessors, The Rt. Rev. Robert McLean Thompson, who retired as Suffragan Bishop of Kingston in 2020, and the late Bishop Herman Spence, who served in that capacity from 1989-200.
At the same time, he advised Bishop Minott to “be open to collaborative work” as Barnabas did when he capitalised on Paul’s potential, following his conversion from being a persecutor of Christians; and worked with him to disciple new converts and facilitate a more active ministry.
“Despite your gifts, you can’t expect to go alone… Don’t choose who you like or who likes you. Choose persons who demonstrate God’s spirit and have the necessary skill sets… and don’t avoid persons who may have hurt you in the past,” he said.
Bishop Maxwell noted that internal teaching and intentional discipleship posed a challenge for the Church in the Province of the West Indies. Although Barnabas was a missionary, he stated: “This does not mean attending conferences overseas or other local churches… your work is here.” He added that there were many suffering persons in the community who needed to see Christians who “walk the talk.”
He also urged members of the Church to support the newly consecrated Bishop in his role as Barnabas, in the same way that the people of Antioch witnessed for Christ. God’s Church in the Province needs to exemplify and exercise the mission of Total Ministry, with Bishops, clergy and laity serving together in order to achieve growth, he said.
The Most Rev. Howard Gregory, Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands, was the Chief Consecrator at the Service. He was supported by The Rt. Rev. Leopold Friday, Bishop of the Windward Islands; Bishop Maxwell; the Rt. Rev. Leon Golding, Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay; and Retired Bishops of the Diocese, The Rt. Rev. Harold Daniel and The Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson.
Music for the Service was led by the Diocesan Festival Choir and instrumentalists under the direction of organist and Choir Director, Mr. Audley Davidson.
Bishop Minott’s consecration caps a 30-year career in ministry, dating back to his ordination as Deacon in 1992.