Hundreds of Anglicans were present at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday evening to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands, and to show appreciation to a special group of laypersons within the Diocese — the serving catechists.
Prior to the 1960s a number of parishes, especially in the Family Islands, did not have a resident priest. In these cases, the catechist conducted morning prayer and evening prayer on Sundays, and was responsible for the general administration of the church, the visitation of the sick, maintaining of good order, and fulfilled other administrative duties within the parish. The catechist also taught the Catechism from the Book of Common Prayer to young parishioners, and buried the dead.
Today each Anglican parish has a priest, however, some Family Island parishes have more than one congregation. Therefore, while some of the responsibilities of the catechist have been reduced, when the priest is at another church, as the leading layperson, the catechist still performs many of these functions.
In New Providence, the catechist serves as a member of the vestry, the chief lay reader, a leader in liturgical matters, and he/she assists the priest with the overall governance of the Parish. As the Diocese celebrated its patronal festival, Anglicans from throughout the Diocese gathered to say thanks to them.
Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend Laish Zane Boyd, Sr., thanked the catechists for their years of service to their respective parishes and the wider Diocese. Assisted by the four archdeacons, he presented each honorees with a special navy blue scarf bearing the Diocesan crest and the Caufield Family Crest. Bishop Charles Caufield was the first Diocesan Bishop of The Bahamas. The scarves were made by Estella Farrington and monogrammed by Marie Poitier Smith.
The majority of the 69 catechists were present at the service, led by 95-year-old, catechist Hartman Moncur, the oldest and longest servicing catechist. Moncur is the catechist at St. Peter’s, in Knowles, Cat Island, where he has served since 1944.
The two-and-a-half hour service was Solemn Pontifical Evensong, Sermon, Indoor Procession and Benediction. Bishop Boyd, presided, and the Venerable Harry Bain, Archdeacon of the Northern Bahamas/Rector of the Pro Cathedral of Christ the King, Grand Bahama, preached the sermon.
The word “catechist “ has its roots in the Greek word “Catecheo”, which means to echo or to teach orally, and in the early church, there were well organized catechists schools presided over by celebrated catechists or theologians who instructed the faithful on the teachings of the church and its liturgy through emphasis in the Word and Sacraments.
There has been an Anglican presence in The Bahamas for over 360 years, and this year the church celebrates 150 years as a Diocese.
Honorees from the East Central Bahamas Archdeaconry, led by the Venerable Archdeacon Kingsley Knowles:
• Catechist Harrison Barry, St. Paul’s, The Bluff, Eleuthera, 1999 – present.
• Catechist William Farrington, St. Andrew’s, Arthur’s Town, Cat Island.
• Catechist Sylvia Jane Cambridge, St. Agnes, Gregory Town, Eleuthera, 1998 – present.
• Catechist William Thomas Roosevelt Godet, St. Matthew’s, New Providence, 2008 – present.
• Catechist Kingdon Higgs, St. John’s, Harbour Island, 1999 – present
• Catechist Harrison Horton, St. Luke’s , Rock Sound, Eleuthera, 1974 – present
• Catechist William Augustus (Gus) Hunt, St. Columba, Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, 2010 – present
• Catechist Blovena Hunter, St. Mark’s, Port Howe, Cat Island, 2002- present
• Catechist Erick Johnson Sr., St. Patrick’s, Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, 1982-present
• Catechist Eugene Lightbourne, St. Mary’s Magdalene’s, Wemyss Bight, Eleuthera, 1994 – present
• Catechist Faith Jones, St. Augustine, San Salvador, 2010 – present
• Catechist Carolyn Moss, St. Joseph’s, Upper Bougue, Eleuthera, 1999 – present
• Catechist Albert Alexander Rolle, St. Anne’s, New Providence, 2008 – present
• Catechist Theodore Alexander Quant, Christ the King, New Providence, 1971 – present
• Catechist Neville Smith, Christ Church Cathedral, New Providence, 2005 – present
• Catechist Reuben Stubbs, Holy Cross, Dumfries, Cat Island, 2002 – present
• Catechist Clarence Wilbert Thurston, St. Benedict’s, Bennett’s Harbour, Cat Island, 2002 – present
• Catechist Tyrone Thompson,, St. Margaret’s, Savannah Sound, Eleuthera, 1987 – present
• Catechist Maxwell Selkirk Anderson Turner, Holy Cross, New Providence, 2008 – present
• Catechist Cedric Peter Wilson, St. Mary The Virgin, Old Bight, Cat Island, 2002 – present
Honorees from the West Central Bahamas Archdeaconry, led by the Venerable I. Ranfurly Brown, were:
• Catechist William Adderley, St. Paul’s, Calabash Bay, Andros, 1973 – present
• Catechist Wellington John Bullard, Holy Trinity, New Providence, 1973 – present
• Catechist Mizpah Braynen, St. Bartholomew’s, Behring Point, Andros, 1979 – present
• Catechist Patrick Dorsette, St. Barnabas, New Providence, 1966 – present
• Catechist David Dean, St. Bartholomew’s, Bullock’s Harbour, Berry Island, 2000 – present
• Catechist Clara Evans, St. Margaret’s, Nicholl’s Town, Andros, 1978 – present
• Catechist Nelson Gaitor, St. Stephen’s, Fresh Creek, Andros, 1979 – present
• Catechist Clayton Newbold, St. James, New Providence, 2003 – present
• Catechist Mildred W. Munnings, St. Margaret’s, Mastic Point, Andros, 1973 – present
• Catechist Hugh O’Brien, St. Agnes, New Providence, 1996 – present
• Catechist Elizabeth Doreen Porter, St. Faith’s, Stanyard Creek, Andros, 1992 – present
• Catechist Wilbur Smith, St. Mary’s, Mars Bay, Andros, 1990 – present
• Catechist Idris Reid, St. Mary the Virgin, New Providence
• Catechist Ana Mae Rolle, All Saints, Mangrove Cay, Andros, 2010 – present
• Catechist Edward Rolle, St. David’s Lisbon Creek, Andros
• Catechist Adline Wilson, St. Peter’s, Bowen Sound, Andros, 1962 – present
Honorees from the Northern Bahamas Archdeaconry, led by the Venerable Harry Bain, included:
• Catechist Euclid Baillou, Holy Saviour, Blackwood, Abaco, 2005 – present
• Catechist Cyril Bernard Barr, Jr., St. Mary Magdalene, West End, Grand Bahama, 1994 – present
• Catechist Frank Hinzey, Our Lady & St. Stephen’s, Bimini, 2000 – present
• Catechist Benjamin Alexander Pinder, St. Martin’s, Sandy Point, Abaco, 1988 – present
• Catechist Virginia Smith Lightbourne, St. Jude’s, Grand Bahama, 1987 – present
• Catechist Oswald Ethelbert Pinder, Church of the Good Shepherd, Pinder’s Point, Grand Bahama, 1968 – present
• Catechist George Reckley, St. Peter’s, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco
• Catechist Edward Roberts, St. Nicholas, High Rock, Grand Bahama, 1983 – present
• Catechist Samuel Theophilus Rigby, The Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King, Freeport, Grand Bahama, 1989 – present
• Catechist Theophilus Rolle, St. Anne, Crown Haven, Abaco
• Catechist Annie Russell, St. Simon-by-the-Sea, Treasure Cay, Abaco, 2005 – present
• Catechist Aldred Modesta Smith, St. John the Baptist, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, 1972 – present
• Catechist Christopher Russell, St. Chad, Fox Town, Abaco, 2005 – present
Honorees from the Southern Bahamas /Turks & Caicos Islands Archdeaconry, led by the Venerable Keith Cartwright:
• Catechist Lawrence Adderley, St. Mary Magdalene, Glinton’s, Long Island, 1999 – present
• Catechist Oral George Bowe, St. Paul’s, Clarence Town, Long Island, 2005 – present
• Catechist Ted Bain, St. Christopher’s, Rum Cay, 1972 – present
• Catechist Kenneth Raymond Carroll, St. Andrew’s, George Town, Exuma, 2008 – present
• Catechist Lawrence Sheldon Cartwright, St. Theresa’s, Gray’s, Long Island, 1999 – present
• Catechist Wendell Cartwright, St. Athanasius, Deadman’s Cay, Long Island, 2005 – present
• Catechist Raphael Nathaniel Cartwright, Holy Cross, Hamilton’s, Long Island, June 2011 – present
• Catechist David Daxon, All Saints, Church Grove, Crooked Island, June 1st, 2011 – present
• Catechist Holton Larola Dickenson, St. John’s, Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands, 1991 – present
• Catechist Edna Fox, St. Joseph’s, Thompson Bay, Long Island, 1974 – present
• Catechist Walter Ewing, St. Philip’s, Mathew Town, Inagua, 1982 – present
• Catechist Ashton Garland, St. Thomas’ & St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands, 2009 – present
• Catechist Harry Harding, St. Andrew’s, Whymms, Long Island, 1954 – present
• Catechist Maxwell McDonald Knowles, St. John’s, Buckley’s, Long Island, 1980 – present
• Catechist Mavis E. Knowles, St. Peter’s, Simms, Long Island, 1999 – present
• Catechist Terecita Luretia Major, St. Michael’s, Roses, Long Island, 2005 – present
• Catechist McField Nathaniel Mortimer, Holy Family, Mortimer’s, Long Island, 1944 – present
• Catechist Gabriel Styles, St. Mary Magdalene, Williams Town, Inagua, 1964 – present
• Catechist Daniel Wallace, Holy Innocents, Ragged Island, January 1, 2011 - present