Mark Damian Harewood is one of the coolest and most composed Anglican priests around. His classy but unpretentious direction of worship at St Barnabas Church is by the hand of our Almighty Father Jehovah and the influence of his earthly dad Reverend Canon Ivan Harewood, the latter not unknown for his profound sermonizing, coupled with eloquent wit.
These very talents, the congregation of St Barnabas would agree, Father Mark is not without either, to which may be added his excellent choice of melodic and heart-warming hymns every Sunday.
Father Mark’s notable and welcoming, moving services would have been the catalyst for the full and impressive turnout last Friday night at St Barnabas Church on the occasion of the The Holy Eucharist celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. And Father Mark, brotherly as ever, would share the holy event with Reverend Mylon Gainsworth Springer, who too was marking his silver anniversary in the holy ministry –– the two having been ordained together to the diaconate at Christ Church Parish Church
In the order of the service, stirring moments would be when Father Mylon’s wife of 56 years, Mrs Sybil Springer, would deliver The Old Testament Reading from The Book Of Numbers, Chapter 11, beginning at Verse 16; and Father Mark’s wife Mrs Sharon Harewood would present The New Testament Reading from St Paul’s Letter To The Ephesians, Chapter 4, beginning from Verse 11.
The First Lesson dealt with the Lord’s instruction to Moses to gather 70 of the elders of Israel that He might take some of the spirit that was on the prophet and put on them –– and more. The Second Lesson would address the gifts that God had given that some of us “would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ”.
Appropriately, the congregation in hearty song –– by Hymn For The Gradual 700 –– would ask of God for the two clergymen being honoured:
Lord, pour Thy Spirit from on high,
And Thine ordained servants bless.
Graces and gifts to each supply,
And clothe thy priests with righteousness.
And Father Mylon, at a break in the hymn, would remind us all –– clergy and laity –– in The Gospel Reading from Matthew 16: 24 to 27 of Jesus’ command that if any of us wanted to be his followers, we would deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him.
In the sermon coming afterwards by Father Mark’s dad Canon Harewood, discipleship would be the theme, as expressed in Matthew 28: 19 and 20:
Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit –– teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all way to the end of the age.
Addressing an attentive congregation that included members of the clergy itself –– the likes of the Dean of the Cathedral of St Michael And All Angels, the Very Reverend Jeffrey Gibson, Dean Emeritus Harold Crichlow, Retired Dean Frank Marshall, Canon William Dixon, Reverend Luther Johnson, Codrington College principal Reverend Dr Michael Clarke, among others, and seminarians, inclusive of Danielle Pontiflet of Trinidad and serving intership
at St Barnabas –– the canon likened Jesus’ call to a virtual blueprint for mentoring, a personal commitment with a willingness to impact the lives of congregations and influence growth.
Said he: “Many clergy will agree that in the days immediately following ordination, priests usually wonder how to negotiate the coming days in this formal ministry. For some answers, they are in the hands of mentors, in the persons of their new parish rectors.”
Father Mark, Canon Harewood explained, when confronted by this kind of uncertainty would draw strength from his experiences of growing up in a clergy home, where the call to priesthood meant a lifetime of faithful obedience to God, tireless parish and hospital visiting, and sharing the concerns of many parishioners each Sunday.
And Father Mark would be further fortified in his path of mentoring at St Ambrose and later at Christ Church Parish Church with his father as a family.
Canon Harewood would speak too to the stewardship of Father Mylon Springer who was appointed assistant curate at Christ Church Parish Church immediately after his ordination, to which ministry he would bring “experiences of a distinguished military career in the British Army and later the Barbados Defence Force”. And his wife Sybil would be a comfort and support.
In the fullness of time Father Mylon would be named rector of St Ambrose.
The celebrating duo, after greetings among worshippers and guests, and after The Breaking Of Bread, thanked the church for the tributes paid to them, Father Mark stressing that it was not so much the two as the dominant feature, but their service to the church as disciples and mentors in guiding their congregations along the path of Jesus over the years.
Father Mark would be presented with tokens of appreciation by devoted church members of St Barnabas, among them his very own church building –– miniature as it was –– from stalwart Sister Joyce Jordan, to the delight of the congregation.
The touching service would end with all offering expressions of thanksgiving to the Almighty –– through Hymn 387:
To God be the glory! Great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that he Gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the Earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory;
Great things He hath done.
There was a social gathering in the church hall afterwards.