Scores of people gathered at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex on Saturday evening to witness the ordination of Reverend Michael Bruce St John Maxwell as the 14th Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Barbados.
Maxwell, the rector of the Holy Trinity Church, was appointed last November by the regional House of Bishops after elections between with the Dean of the Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels, the Very Rev. Jeffrey Gibson and the rector of St George Parish Church, the Rev. John Rogers ended in a deadlock several times.
His ordination and consecration comes 11 months after former Bishop and Archbishop of the West Indies The Most Reverend Dr John Holder retired on February 28, 2018.
Hundreds of the Anglican faith were present to watch as the rector of Holy Trinity Church in St Philip received the pectoral cross, ring and staff from Senior Bishop Reverend Errol Brooks, Bishop of North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba.
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, Chief Justice Sir Martson Gibson, and other dignitaries including Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resources, Colin Jordan; Minister of People’s Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde, and former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, attended the ceremony.
Reverend Dr Anthony Holder, rector of Holy Sacrament Episcopal Church and president of the standing committee in the Diocese of Southern Florida delivered the sermon.
Reverend Holder who has been Maxwell’s friend for three decades described him as “approachable and thoughtful, honest, humble, compassionate and down to earth”.
He reminded the newly ordained bishop that he was not alone as he took assumed this public role as the head of the Barbadian Diocese.
“Michael, you may be tempted to do this work alone, you might be so enthusiastic you think you can do it all by yourself you might think that by doing so you will receive the least resistance from others. You may think that by involving others they will only complicate matters or they might do it not the way you like it but let me tell you, you cannot do it on your own,” said Reverend Dr Holder.
“Let me encourage all of you to walk together as a Diocese, in this ministry of Jesus you will need to walk together to carry out the work of Christ. Michael, you will need to walk together with the people you are called to serve the sheep of your flock, the ones you will shepherd. You will need to get to know the parishes of your people and their history. You will need to know the shops and the stores and even the rum shops,” he further advised.
Reverend Dr Holder went on to encourage the newly appointed bishop to “be a bishop of the people”, and urged the members of the Anglican Church to welcome all persons unconditionally regardless of their class, political affiliation or backgrounds.
“There are divisions and prejudices, favouritism and partiality in our country, in our world and even in our churches and at a time when more people are turning away from church but still calling themselves spiritual . . . as a clergy and people we need to welcome all persons unconditionally. . . .
“The church must not intentionally exclude or make anyone feel uncomfortable from being a part of it no matter who they are. We need to treat people irrespective of who they are, as being created in the image of God.”