Bishop moves to reassure congregation
A church congregation was assured yesterday by the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda that services will continue even though the parish is without a permanent priest.
The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill said a combination of local clergymen and a retired minister from the United States will provide services at Christ Church in Devonshire after the retirement of Canon James Francis after almost 21 years in the parish.
He added the recruitment process to fill the vacant post had been put on hold while a recently ordained Bermudian completes his final year as an assistant.
Although this resulted in some “fears and misunderstandings”, these were believed to have been allayed by Bishop Dill last Sunday, when he joined worshippers at the church.
The bishop explained the recruitment process involved a search committee to establish the parish’s needs, then the post was advertised to see if Bermudian candidates were available before the search widened to overseas priests.
Bishop Dill said: “That process has started but then we paused it for a period of time.
“The reason for the pause, it’s a slightly sensitive issue, we have ordained a Bermudian by the name of Jamaine Tucker, who is a curate and has just finished his first year.
“I think the feeling was they wanted to be in a position to offer him the posting, but he’s not able to receive it because he’s still in his curate posting until June next year.”
He added: “As things draw closer to the completion of Jamaine’s internship, they will advertise and he will be free to apply.”
Bishop Dill said Bermudian clergy normally travel abroad for theological training before they work in assistant roles for three or four years and then gain further experience in a church, which all takes place off-island.
He added: “With Jamaine, he has done his education overseas, which we for the first time have paid for, but we are doing his internship in Bermuda rather than overseas, which is why it’s creating confusion. Bermudians are not used to that.”
Bishop Dill said Reverend Tucker, who has been a pastor in other denominations, had a “tremendous gift” and that he looked forward to him “in the fullness of time, having his own parish”.
He added Reverend Tucker’s appointment to Christ Church was “not a done deal” but was likely.
Bishop Dill said: “There has been some confusion around it but what we are doing is effectively fast-tracking Jamaine through his experience.”
He added he believed some worshippers hoped that Reverend Tucker, who was mentored by Canon Francis, would have been appointed to the parish immediately.
Rev Tucker will assist with pastoral duties at Christ Church over the next few months as retired Reverend Harold Lockett, from Atlanta, Georgia, shares services with other priests from the diocese.
The intern will also be involved in a new partnership between Holy Trinity Church, in Hamilton Parish, and St Mark’s, in Smiths, which is due to start next month.
Reverend John Stow will be the priest in charge of both parishes and Reverend Tucker will be curate.
The collaboration was also designed to allow some of the 13 Bermudian students from across the diocese who have recently completed the first of two years on a lay ministry course to gain experience.
Reverend Tucker said: “I’ve been in pastoral ministry for almost 20 years now, so this is an opportunity with a new tradition of the Christian church.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’m enjoying the journey.”