It is said that The City is the heart of a country. And the new rector and dean of the Cathedral Church Of St Michael And All Angels, the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey Gibson, has been given the mandate to marry the Anglican Church and that community.
At his installation on Sunday, Gibson was called upon by the Bishop of Barbados the Right Reverend Dr John Holder to make his ministry one of inclusion not only in but also outside the walls of the church.
“This Cathedral has the awesome responsibility of making the Gospel come alive in The City; it has the responsibility of making those Gospel connections with the experiences in The City that would hold them up against the demands of the Gospel,” Holder said.
He advised Gibson that as dean his ministry must be one that enhanced the connection between the Cathedral and The City community.
“This affirmation can of course take several forms. It starts with the conviction that within our sphere of ministry, as individuals, as a parish, there are no exclusive zones, no no-go areas in relation to the proclamation of the Gospel, as in the Ministry of Jesus Our Lord everyone falls within the network of the good news.
“It is this understanding of what it means to proclaim the good news that forms the bedrock of our ministry as Anglicans, and is captured in the First Mark Of Mission. It is an understanding that must be treated as the bedrock of ministry in this Cathedral. When this is the case, our ministry within the walls of the church and the ministry without are two complimentary expressions of proclaiming the good news,” the bishop told the packed Cathedral, with Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and Lady Belgrave and former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford and Lady Sandiford in the congregation. Holder added there would “always be the struggle to maintain this way in the face of the many alternatives that are being offered to us”.
He made it clear the ministry of the Anglican Church must be one that is “people-oriented. An institution can at times place too much priority on structure, on tradition instead of people. We are a very structured church with glorious ancient traditions, and a cathedral is a place where these traditions are expected to exist in pristine point. We have roles and regulations for many things if not for everything”.
Advised Holder: “Dean Jeffery, let that be the type of ministry that makes your stint as dean of this cathedral; if this is so you will reflect a special concern for the vulnerable. As a spiritual oasis in The City with these many vulnerable persons, the Cathedral should be a place where all who feel battered by the storms of life can come and be reassured of God’s love.
“Let this Cathedral be a place where all who join here to worship will be drawn into an experience that affirms them as children of God. Let it be a place that welcomes; not one that excludes. Let it be an experience of that all-embracing love of God.
“As a people-oriented congregation that never allows the tradition to get in the way of the warm Christian welcome, the ministry of this Cathedral can be an example of how the tradition itself, whether music, or ritual, or history, can be the vehicle that conveys that our Lord our God reaches out and embraces each one of us, no matter who we are, no matter where we are on the journey of life.”
The bishop said this was the type of connection the Cathedral needed to strengthen as it went at the very heart of the ministry of Jesus.
Holder, who is also the Archbishop of the West Indies, made it clear the Cathedral needed to play an integral role in the church’s three-year strategic plan, which was launched early this month.
“You must be a leader here in this parish in terms of ministry of the diocese, a leader in terms of the vision and the push forward to improve and strengthen our mission ministry.”
Gibson replaces Dr Frank Marshall who retired last December as dean and rector of St Michael And All Angels.