Candidates for Anglican Bishop issue messages of unity
Two men vying for the position of Bishop of the Anglican Church of Bermuda last night detailed their vision of the future for the church.
Archdeacon Andrew Doughty and Rev Nicholas Dill both said they would work to unify the church and encourage it to grow if elected to the post next month.
Both candidates spoke and answered questions at St Anne’s Church in Southampton during the first of three scheduled public meetings.
Speaking first, Archdeacon Doughty said the church must be more “Bermudianised,” but not at the cost of its international membership.
“It’s not about saying to non-Bermudians ‘Thank you very much, good bye’,” he said. “I believe it’s about saying to Bermudians that it’s time you matured, to grow up and take full responsibility of our future.”
He also said that the church should be an inclusive community for all, where people can be welcomed regardless of their history, race, gender or sexual orientation.
Questioned directly on his thoughts on sexual orientation, he said that the issue is an emotive one, but said: “It’s about supporting relationships. It’s about understanding that God wants his people to be happy.
“He wants us to be happy, and I know in my own life that his message has brought us happiness, so when a gay couple come to me or to any of my clergy brethren and say they are together and would like our support and our prayer, I say yes.”
He also expressed his support for women becoming ordained in the church, saying that he hoped it would come to pass in his lifetime.
Asked about how he would recruit young people to join the church, he said the answer is simply to let young people know that they are welcomed and loved and will be supported.
The Archdeacon also said that the Island’s Anglican churches must come together for the good of all, saying: “I would like us to come to a fellowship where we can work together, we commit together and we cooperate together. Coexisting isn’t good enough any more.”
Rev Dill agreed, saying that some churches are doing better than others, and they all need to support one another.
He called for additional events which bring the various congregation’s together, saying: “Coming together is vitally important.”
He suggested creating a paid post of Youth Director for the church to help in creating events and keeping the church’s message relevant to the Island’s young people.
“We need to be laying the ground work of connecting with kids in schools,” he said. “ We need to be making sure that we are present and connecting with young people.”
He expressed his support for women in the ministry, but said that he voted against women being ordained because he didn’t approve of the way the vote was handled, only appearing on the agenda days before the vote was to take place.
“When you are called to look at important issues, there needs to be time for reflection and prayer,” he said. “I felt that it was important to look at it. Make the decision for the right reasons and not on an emotional response.”
Regarding homosexuality, Rev Dill said the issue is one that needs to be dealt with by the church in a careful manner.
“It will require a time of listening and prayer,” he said. “Every one of us know, are related to and love people who are gay or lesbian.”
He noted the frequency of children being born outside of marriage and the frequency of divorce on the Island, saying: “We need to look at all of these things and do it together in the atmosphere of respect.
“I want to have that discussion. It has to happen and if I am elected Bishop, it will happen soon.”