Challenge: In an effort to know more places in my country Barbados, I am visiting the Churches featured in the Diocesan Calendar 2016. Not only will I increase an appreciation for my country but also an appreciation for my faith in God. Give it a try. Take it from the national to a regional or international level. See where it takes you.
Last December, I received my copy of the Diocesan Calendar for 2016. Immediately I turned the pages to see which churches were featured. Beyond that, I was duly impressed with the colourful and lively images of the Anglican Church. I thought to myself: would it be a fabulous idea to visit each church featured each month? So I compiled the list of churches and started alphabetically. The first Church on the list was St. Augustine. I inquired from Reverend Ellis, priest-in-charge, of the times of the service. She informed me that there was only one service at 8 am. Personally, the time of the service at St. Augustine is just right, for 8 o’clock is not too early and not too late. Today, I attended the service with my mother and my sons.
Sunday School also began at 8 but I was pleased that the children returned in time to hear the sermon which was the Parable of the fig tree.
Reverend Ellis taught the members of the congregation. To expand upon that she ensured optimum understanding as each member of the congregation listened attentively to the sermon. One particularly engaging anecdote which was used, was from the well known comic strip “Peanuts”.
At the end of the comic strip, Reverend Ellis noted that there is a difference between acknowledging your faults and changing your ways. She said that God is a God of second chances, but there will come a time when the chances will run out and destruction will set in. The choice she gave to the congregation was simple: do you want to hear “Cut it down!” as in the case of the parable of the fig tree or do you want to hear: “Well done!”
The message of the sermon was a reflection of the order of the service. The interactive screens engaged my son’s attention as he informed me that he would not be needing a book. I was appalled at first for to me church and books are synonymous, yet I opened my mind to this technological advancement in the worship of the Lord. On the other hand the screens were beneficial to visitors who would not be familiar with the service. At one point during the service, I placed my books at the side and read from the screen to enhance the worship experience to God. I was able to lift up my hands in praise and worship to God Almighty.
Equally impressive was the gender role allocations. The priest, organist and most of the servers were female. Males were not to left out as they were playing the roles of verger, chalice assistant and sexton. Overall, there was a balance of gender roles: not overwhelmingly female, not overwhelmingly patriarchal. The physical structure of the Church buildings were lovely as were the Church grounds. It is wonderful to see the freshly painted exteriors and well maintained gardens and parking facilities.
The visit to St. Augustine was just right. The time of the service, the essence of the sermon and the ambience of the Church communicated a balance which was complimentary to the worship experience. I would visit this Church again in my sojourns across Barbados, this year. I end by inviting you, just as Reverend Ellis did, to pause for a moment and reflect. Search your heart, see what needs to be aligned in your life, so that you can be fruitful in this part of God’s vineyard.
Next month: St. Christopher Anglican Church in Silver Sands Christ Church