Barbadians will return to the church when it begins to answer their questions, an Anglican priest has suggested.
Rector of St John’s Parish Church, Reverend Geoffrey Mayers, said the church needs to realize where Barbadians are as they travel along their spiritual journey.
Reverend Mayers was joined by Archdeacon the Most Reverend Eric Lynch as they recently briefed journalists at the Grantley Adams International Airport about the 190th anniversary celebrations for the neighbourhood Anglican church, St Bartholomew’s, at Seawell.
The theme of the celebrations is Reaching Out.
Reverend Mayers said: “With the theme Reaching Out, when you reach out what are you reaching out for? What are you carrying with you?
“In the past, those who brought the Gospel brought a package this is what the Gospel is.
“I do not know if we as a church can say this is what it is.”
He continued: “We have to try to explore and find out from persons where you are and seeing how what we think we know and what we think we have can help you to get to where you want to get.
“I think it is an issue of a search for meaning and what was probably meaningful for me 67 years ago is not necessarily meaningful for you at 30.
“The church was providing some sense of meaning but I am not sure that the way in which the church presented that is still seen as relevant today. So, how do you make sense of that?”
Reverend Mayers used the biblical example of when Jesus Christ asked Bartholomew “when did you get to know me?” to further explain that the church must seek to proclaim the Gospel of Christ without casting judgment.
He said: “When we are reaching out, we are not I think carrying a Gospel.
“We are reaching out with the hope of sharing who you are and not going out with a preconceived idea of what these people are and what they want and how we are going to deal with them.
“Reaching out is always a dangerous activity so if you are not prepared to be knocked back down and picked back up and so on then don’t reach out.”
Archdeacon Eric Lynch, in backing Reverend Mayers, said the church cannot use the same structure to impose its views and values on society.
He said: “How do we, therefore, take that on when we ourselves have been shaped differently?
“Not criticism but we are critiquing the society but seeking to move when we have analyzed society to what we call analytics and what we do with it to empower persons.
“That is the reality of the situation [as] those of us who read and who study those areas in the past realize that something is happening that has not happened before and the old will not work, simply will not work.”