Meet the new Reverend
Christ Anglican Church Devonshire’s new priest-in-charge is excited about leading the church forward in worship and ministry.
Reverend Jamaine Tucker was officially installed on September 26.
He takes the reins after Canon James Francis, who held the position for more than twenty years.
He recalled meeting Canon Francis during a transitional time in his life.
Recently divorced, Mr Tucker had left a ministry within the African Methodist Episcopal church, but found faith and hope in his mentorship with Canon Francis and the members of Christ Church.
“We, Canon Francis, myself and the church, connected during a tough time, at a breaking point in my life,” he said.
“I felt like ministry had cost me my family and I was really bitter about it for a while. I had moved back to the island with the intention of starting a ministry here, before it all fell apart.
“He and I sat on an advisory panel together and he invited me out to lunch. And, whenever you have lunch with a man like Canon Francis, things start to happen.
“He invited me to church. And because I chose to take him seriously and his invitation, I learnt that the only one judging me was myself.”
Mr Tucker started attending Christ Church regularly and then enrolled at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, with a view to becoming a priest of the Anglican faith.
He was ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church of Bermuda in 2017 and completed his curacy in 2019.
His wife Konnie is just as connected to ministry as he is. Together they are looking forward to serving the members of Christ Church and the parish of Devonshire.
“I don’t feel overwhelmed,” he said. “I know the huge personality Canon Francis is, and I know the personality [of his predecessor] Canon Thomas Nisbett.
“And Christ Church is a place that reflects much of their character — sweet, hospitable; it is an outgoing place. That’s the kind of ethos I’ve walked into. But that’s also who I am.”
Mr Tucker described his predecessors, who each served Devonshire for decades, as highly respected and loved by the members at Christ Church.
Looking forward to the years ahead, he was excited to build upon the foundation that they laid in the parish.
“Christ Church did not become a strong church overnight,” he said. “It has grown over the decades. We have a diverse and balanced congregation.
“I want to continue this tradition while growing our ministry and welcoming new people in our family of faith.
“I have evolved and so has the Anglican Church of Bermuda.
“The reason why I’m an Anglican today is because of its diversity. I’m looking forward to building on this diversity.”
He highlighted the value of inter-denominational relationships in his ministry, explaining that because of his varied background in faith he enjoyed studying and learning from traditions outside the Anglican Church.
With the understanding that the landscape of religion is changing rapidly, he is hopeful that he can lead his parish and others around the island in spiritual revival.
“Statistically, our churches are not as strong as they used to be,” he said. “But on the flip side, I have seen some churches grow tremendously.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church, for example, has evolved tremendously.
“They have connected their education message, with their health message, with their youth message and with their music message. And it’s the type of gospel that is good news.
“To actually see churches and church traditions moving into areas of the community and showing signs of growth and life that speaks to the progress they’ve made is incredible.
“And while the trends may show a decline in religious affiliations, I don’t think the church is dying. The faith community is very much alive.
“We are growing. And I believe it can continue to grow.”
Mr Tucker’s licensing and installation was a milestone for the Anglican Church of Bermuda.
He is the first member of clergy to have had his studies fully funded by the church and the first to serve his curacy locally in Bermuda.
His installation as priest-in-charge of Christ Church Devonshire is another milestone, hoping to represent a new surge of Bermudian leadership within the church.
“Christ Church chose me and I chose Christ Church,” he said. “And there’s something about that, under the covering of God, under God’s providence, that is very sacred and special. I am grateful to continue this journey.”
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