The quest for a new cleric to lead the island’s largest congregation officially entered its next stage this evening when the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of the Province of the West Indies met with members of the laity, another of its three decision-making chambers.
The meeting, held at the Ivan Harewood Centre at the Christ Church Parish Church, paves the way for a meeting with the House of Clergy this week, with a decision by the bishops expected by weekend on the next steps to end the protracted battle between two priests to lead the Diocese of Barbados.
“At this meeting, we listened to the views of the House of Laity, and on Thursday we will get together with the House of Clergy at Codrington College,” said Senior Bishop Errol Brooks, just after the meeting he chaired had concluded.
“On Friday, the Bishops will meet to ponder everything that was shared with us during the two previous meetings, and we will take the process forward from there.”
Bishop Brooks said the majority of the province was represented, except for Guyana whose Bishop is currently ill, and some retired Bishops were also present, including former Bishop of Barbados and Archbishop of the Church of the Province of the West Indies, Drexel Gomez.
The House of Clergy is made up of 91 priests, while the House of Laity consists of 84 members, with two people representing each of the Anglican churches on the island.
It is the second time the Anglican Church in Barbados has found itself in this predicament, where the House of Bishops had to take over the proceedings. The first time was in 1972 when Bishop Gomez took up office after the Elective Synod failed to choose a leader.
When the Elective Synod held its first meeting on April 25 this year, five candidates were nominated for the post, but after four meetings, only Dean of St Michael’s Cathedral, Dr Jeffrey Gibson, and rector of St George’s Parish Church Reverend John Rogers, were in the running.
But neither candidate managed to secure the necessary two-thirds majority required from both houses in ten ballots held in April, May, June and August.
So far, the Laity has thrown its support behind Rogers, a younger candidate, while the Clergy has favoured Dean Gibson, with both sides arguing that they should have an equal say on who will get to lead them.