The Anglican Diocese of Barbados under new leadership will be much more involved in tackling and lending its voice to critical issues and helping to address worrying aspects of the country’s economic and social condition.
Filled with charisma and energy, the newly-appointed Bishop, the Right Reverend Michael Bruce St John Maxwell, during yesterday evening’s enthronement service told a responsive congregation at the St. Michael’s Cathedral that the local Anglican Church would be heading in a new direction.
“God has called us to a new season. He has called us to a new season of earnestly working on his mission of transformation, to transform what appears or may still appear to some, to be a disastrous situation in the life of our Anglican church and the dismal outlook for our nation with the state of the dismal economy and the increased rate of unemployment, crime and murders,” said the new Bishop.
Addressing a congregation which included Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, Acting Prime Minister George Payne, Opposition Leader Reverend Joseph Atherley and numerous cabinet ministers, the former independent Senator pledged the Church’s support in addressing key challenges.
“Although I have left the House of Senate and have been replaced by a more than competent Senator in the Reverend John Rogers, I will continue to monitor the political, economic and social landscape and of course the moral affairs of our nation and the voice of this Church will certainly be heard,” he said to loud applause, adding that he would be ready and willing to address issues “as God’s holy spirit prompts me to speak at any given time.”
“I am not about maintenance only, but more so about our church joining in and becoming intentionally involved in God’s restoration ministry for this nation and for this world,” he added.
Bishop Maxwell went on to declare that amid the extended and often messy process of choosing a new Bishop, he never imagined that he would have been appointed adding that he often dismissed such suggestions.
“Who would have thought that we would have had a church full of confusion in electing a Bishop and out of that confusion come one who never sought out such a post and now on this 28th day of January become the 14th Bishop of this diocese.
“My friends, I placed every obstacle in God’s way to avoid this day. I even prayed against it, and it didn’t work. I was self-centered,” he admitted.
“I don’t have a PhD, I am not a wide reader like all the other priests, I haven’t always lived a model life, I’m not a fluent speaker who can recite sermons without notes, I wasn’t always in tune with the running of this diocese. I have generally been a loner with no real social buddies among the clergy,” Maxwell added.
Likening his rise to that of biblical character King David who unexpectedly was chosen to become King of Israel, Bishop Maxwell said he eventually conceded, based on numerous events taking place in society, that he had been called to serve.
“Who would have thought for example that all thirty of the parliamentary seats would have gone to the BLP administration by way of the election that was held on the 24th of May, which is my birthday?” he questioned.
“I don’t think that the honorable Prime Minister or her team members could have fathomed in their minds such a tremendous victory. Who would have thought that by early June, yours truly, this quiet, unassuming individual who doesn’t like the limelight would have received a call to come out of his shell and become an independent senator?” he asked, while thanking the Governor General Dame Sandra Mason for appointing him to the Senate.
The Bishop further challenged the congregation and Barbadians, in general, to make themselves available for service in society.
“He calls this church and by extension this nation to a season of renewal, a season of reconciliation, recommitment, revival, restoration and reenergizing as we humbly open ourselves, to experience God’s love, to encounter the redeeming and transformative work that he longs to perform in our lives,” said the new Bishop.