Awesome tributes to two Christian warriors
This is not a standard home-going service, rather one where we will let the Holy Spirit take charge.
That declaration was made at the spirited start of the celebration at Beulah Tabernacle United Holy Church (UHC), Somerset, a week ago for the life of 102-year-old Elder Margaret Rowena Hope Bascome. And again on Tuesday at Heritage Worship Centre, Hamilton at the celebration for 64-year-old Bishop Christopher Paul Lawrence Haynes
We can only describe as awesome tributes paid to those two Christian warriors by vocal and instrumental praise teams from their respective congregations, by inordinate numbers of participating bishops and other clergy travelling from near and far, by civic leaders, family and friends.
They sang, danced and shouted to high heaven. They praised the Lord for the long, happy community-filled life of Elder 'Good Cheer' Hope for her early-life contributions as a public schoolteacher, and latterly her personal ministry throughout Bermuda, in parts of the United States, Haiti and other areas of the West Indies and West Africa in person and via radio and television.
Officiating at the Beulah service was its pastor Bishop Stephen Jones. The Presiding Prelate of the UHC Bishop of Missions, Bermudian-born Bishop Dennis Ball came from his headquarters in California to lead off the tributes to Elder Bascome. He was followed by her nephew educator Dr Glen Bascome; her former school principal Sinclair Richards; cousin, Dr Ada Nyabongo; her sister Elder Miriam Bascome Dickenson (widow of late Bishop Norris Dickenson); also Sis. Barbara Smith Mary Lou Jones and Bermuda District Elder Jarius Landy.
At the New Testament Church, its pastor Bishop Lloyd E Duncan presided as hundreds gathered for the last rites for Guyanese-born Bishop 'Praise the Lord' Haynes as he was famously known. They too danced, shouted, prayed, sang to the powerful backing of church instrumentalists.
New York-based Archbishop David J Billings III, Presiding Bishop and Prelate of the United Fellowship of Churches officiated at the tribute segment when Bishop Haynes was eulogised among other things as a ‘Jesus Giant’, miracle worker, demon chaser, kingdom warrior, preacher, and pioneer philanthropist. He was hailed as a prophet, a general.
The Archbishop cited him as “a man of refinement and culture, a constant friend, a blameless and earnest Christian who won our abiding confidence and love — whose early death has left a deep and lasting wound upon our hearts”.
Archbishop Billings in a resolution on behalf of the UFCI Maryland, College of Bishops, national officers and membership, declared: “Whereas Our Heavenly Father has transitioned our beloved Bishop from the Church on Earth to the Church Triumphant in Heaven, while we bow in entire submission to the divine appointment, we deeply feel the impact left upon his family, including his wife Rev Dr Roxanne GD Haynes, four daughters Rev Celena M Haynes, Alexis J Haynes, Charis E Haynes and Crystal E Haynes as well as the entire Restoration Fellowship.”
Continuing, the Archbishop's resolution noted how Bishop Haynes' life had been marked by great ability and success, having served as a spiritual mentor of many leaders, as the founder and Presiding Bishop of Restoration Fellowship and Intercession and Restoration Ministries International, as Secretary General of United Fellowship of Churches International; as overseer and superintendent of The Christian Economic Recovery Group, Restoration Life Fellowship, New Jersey, Church Without Walls Ministries, Norwalk Connecticut; Marathon Morning Star, South Africa ad Joy of The Lord Ministries, South Africa.
Bishop Haynes was born in Georgetown, Guyana August 26 1949, the youngest of six children of Edmund Thomas Haynes and wife Henrietta (Leach) Haynes, both now deceased. He served in the Guyanese Army before embarking on his various evangelistic roles, in Surinam, Jamaica, Guyana and within the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Denomination.
He first assumed pastorates in Jamaica at Gaines Memorial Chapel, later coming to Bermuda pastoring over a 20-year period at Allen Temple AME Church, Somerset. Vernon Temple and Mt Zion AME Churches in Southampton.
Most notable among the many persons paying tribute was that of the Bishop’s youngest brother, Victor Haynes. He was given a standing ovation by the large congregation which had followed him earlier with many 'amens' and other interspersions. He was joined at the altar on behalf of the siblings and family by Rev Dr Judy Brown-Jones and Bishop Dominic Allotey.