After two sittings separated by19 days and 16 hours of voting, the Anglican Church here is no closer to electing a bishop to lead the Barbadian flock.
The House of Clergy and the House of Laity aborted yet another attempt today, having failed to reach consensus after six hours of voting.
They ended today in the same position as they did on April 25 after ten hours of voting and four ballots at the Ivan Harewood Centre of the Christ Church Parish Church to choose a successor to the retired John Holder.
As it did back then, the laity continued to throw its support behind youthful candidate Rev John Rogers, 45, rector of St George Parish Church, while the clergy backed his senior, Dr Jeffrey Gibson, 61, dean of The Cathedral of St Michael’s and All Angels.
When it was clear that they could not break the deadlock, Diocesan Administrator Canon Wayne Isaacs, who chaired the proceedings, outlined the four options – to continue voting today, invite further nominations, refer the voting to a selection committee or adjourn until a date to be determined. The group chose the latter, however Isaacs made it clear if the two houses remained divided for much longer, the Anglican Synod would have to decide.
“We have up to August to select [a bishop]. If in six months time we don’t select, we would go to the House of Bishops. The other option is to send it to a select committee and they would have a longer time . . . 12 months [to decide],” he explained.
In order to be elected bishop, the winner must secure 53 votes from the laity and 55 from the clergy.
While Rogers secured 54 laity votes at the end of the first ballot today, compared to 24 for Gibson, he fell way short of receiving the required two-thirds of the clergy votes, polling 33 to 49 by Gibson.
The youthful Rogers lost one clergy vote in the second ballot, which went to Gibson, but kept his 54 laity votes, although Gibson added two more.
The results for the third ballot were not available up to the time of publication.
Asked to comment on suggestions that the Anglican Church now stands seriously divided by failing to find consensus for a second time, Isaacs said: “I suspect people might think so, but we have to allow the process to run its course. I know people would not be happy but, you know…”
Among the House of Clergy were a number of retired priests, well advanced in age, including one in his 90s, and some of whom were physically disabled, including a blind cleric.
Also showing up to vote was former Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, who needed help walking.