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Tweed’s homecoming brings family full cirlce

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A London, England born and educated AME minister, the Rev. Nicholas Genevieve-Tweed has arrived in Bermuda to take over the pastorate of St. Paul AME Church, Hamilton. The church is deemed the Cathedral of African Methodism in Bermuda.

Bermuda is Rev. Tweed’s ancestral homeland, and he has brought with him a stupendous record of accomplishments as a clergyman and scholar gained both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Since June of 2009, until two weeks ago, he served with distinction as Presiding Elder of the Manhattan District of the First District of the AME Church, with responsibility for 15 churches in that district.

Bermuda, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Philadelphia among other regions comprised the First District of the far-flung AME Denomination. It’s recently appointed prelate is Rt. Rev. Gregory G.M. Ingram.

Rev. Genevieve-Tweed graduated with honours in philosophy, social theory and religion from Middlesex University in London in 1989. In 1985, Rev. Tweed co-founded Mt. Zion A.M.E. church under the leadership of his father, Rev. Dr. Kingsley Tweed, within one year the church grew from two to around 300 members. This led to the re-establishment of the London Annual Conference of the A.M.E. Church. Rev. Genevieve-Tweed was ordained an Itinerant Deacon by Bishop Vernon R. Byrd.

Younger Rev. Tweed In 1989 graduated from Middlesex University earning a BA with honours majoring in Philosophy with a double minor in Religion and Social Theory. Later in the year he went to the United States on a full scholarship to Turner Theological Seminary, a constituent of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. While attending T.T.S., he served on the Ministerial staff of Big Bethel A.M.E. Church. In 1992, he graduated from Turner with honours and is continuing his studies as a Ph.D. D D. candidate in systematic theology at Boston University.

In 1992, Reverend Tweed was appointed to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Providence, Rhode Island. Rev. Tweed served Bethel for just over a year. During his time in Providence he also worked for the Urban League of Rhode Island as a Senior Community Organizer in the Advocacy and Public Policy Unit.

While in Providence Rev. Tweed developed a reputation as a forceful advocate and was successful in getting the Legislature to establish a State wide Commission charged with investigating Racism and abuse in the Rhode Island Prison system. Rev. Tweed was also a lead organiser in hosting one of the first Minority Health forums in the State which gathered information on the health needs and quality of service to the Minority Community. In July of 1993, he was appointed to Allen chapel A.M.E. Church in Hartford, Connecticut where he served for four years. While serving in Hartford, Rev. Tweed was a vocal and viable force in the community. The membership at Allen showed a remarkable increase and the church became financially secure. In June 1997, during the first District Founder’s Day Celebration, Revered Tweed was appointed to Macedonia A.M.E. Church, Flushing, New York.

While serving at Macedonia, Reverend Tweed continued to be active in the community. He was on the Board of directors of the NAACP; on Community Board No. 7 in Flushing and was appointed community Liaison between the Flushing community and the Flushing Police Department. Reverend Tweed has been honoured by the Flushing Democratic club and has twice been honoured by the NAACP. Rev. Tweed has represented the Connectional A.M.E. Church as a Board Member of Church World Service, and as a member of the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches U.S.A., where he serves as Chair of the Inclusiveness & Justice Committee.

Because he feels that the church should play a significant role in the community, Rev. Tweed started a Food Bank and established the Macedonia Community Development Corporation, which is designed to address projects aimed at meeting the needs of the distressed and oppressed within the Flushing community. Among the many accomplishments at Macedonia Rev. Tweed secured a sole source land disposition agreement and put together a landmark affordable housing project the first in Flushing in more than 40 years.

Newly appointed pastor of St. Paul AME Church, Hamilton is seen close-up making his first sermon in the church.
——photos by Lenell Furbert. Rev. Tweed is with the church’s Ministerial Staff, Rev, Mrs. Judith Gardner, the Executive Minister; Mrs. Eunice Jones, the Pastor’s Executive Steward ad Rev. Michael Barclay.
Tweed the elder enjoying retirement in London

The father of the newly appointed pastor of St. Paul AME Church, Hamilton is the Rev, Dr. Kingsley Tweed. He’s a man whose name is indelibly stamped in the pages of Bermuda’s history and elsewhere as a freedom fighter, fearless labour leader and champion of the causes of the underprivileged. A whole chapter in the 333-page book, The History of the Bermuda Industrial Union, authored by Ira Philip, is devoted to Kingsley.

He is referred to as a charismatic, articulate young carpenter with a pronounced call to the AME Church ministry, who featured prominently in the rebirth of the BIU following the death in 1955 of Dr. E.F. Gordon (Mazumbo), the Father of the Organized Labour Movement in Bermuda.

Kingsley came to the attention of the Union’s leadership and the Special Branch of the Bermuda Police Force at about the same time in 1952. He was employed at Kindley Air Force Base as a mechanic, working alongside seniors who were founders with Dr. Gordon of the Bermuda Workers Association. One Thursday afternoon Tweed was cited as a ringleader of 22 men who staged protest action in a dispute that had racial overtones with expatriate American workers on the same job site. Tweed went straight to the BIU, singed himself and other workers as members.

He was fired-up after that incident. Later he was elected Secretary General of the BIU and afterwards through his union activities he became ‘the most marked man in Bermuda’ as far as the establishment was concerned. That intensified after his forceful, fearless leadership role as the ‘number-one’ up front articulator during the Theater Boycott of 1959. His part in the boycott is captured in the pages of

The Royal Gazette, the old Bermuda Recorder newspaper and the movie “When Voices Rise.”

Clashing leadership styles with others on the BIU Executive resulted in his resignation from his paid position as Secretary General, although he continued as an ordinary member. But he was blackballed in the business community and unable to get regular employment, he left Bermuda, having been made to feel the full blunt of the victimisation which led the organisers of the Theatre Boycott to kept their anonymity for the next 40 years.

However Rev. Tweed did not lose his spark for the next half-century championing labour, civil rights and other causes as an ordained minister of the AME Church in Central and Southern Africa and London, England.

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Published January 26, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm)

Tweed’s homecoming brings family full cirlce

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