Methodist stalwarts pass on
The Methodist Church in Barbados has lost two of its stalwarts – retired minister, Reverend Vivian Comissiong and educator, lay preacher and author, Francis “Woodie” Blackman.Comissiong, 94, passed away on Monday and Blackman on Tuesday.Grenadian-born Comissiong joined the Methodist Church in his homeland, and went on to study at the United Theological College of the West Indies where he graduated in 1941. On graduation, he went to Tobago on a four-year probationary assignment. He was appointed to Belmont Methodist Church in Barbados in 1946. That four-year tour saw him assuming pastoral responsibility for four churches, Belmont, Vauxhall, Providence and South District.He went on to serve in several other Caribbean territories before returning to Barbados in 1971 to take up duties as Superintendent of the James Street-Speightstown Circuit and later as Superintendent of the Bethel Circuit.Commissiong was one of the pioneers of ecumenism in Barbados and served as president of the Council of Evangelical Churches and Chairman of the Barbados Christian Council.He is survived by his wife Jean and their children, attorney-at-law David Comissiong, Michael, David, Paul and Johnny.His funeral service will take place at the James Street Methodist Church on Monday at 3 p.m.Blackman, a former secretary of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, was a member of the Dalkeith Methodist Church, and is a retired consultant of the Canadian Training Aid Programme.He authored the books Dame Nita: Caribbean Woman, World Citizen and Methodism – 200 Years In Barbados and a booklet on national heroine Sarah Ann Gill, revered for her defence of Methodism in Barbados in the early 19th century.Blackman lived at Rowan’s Park, St George. His funeral service will be held at the Bethel Methodist Church tomorrow at 10 a.m. and the burial will take place at the family plot in the churchyard of St Barnabas Anglican church.Among those mourning their loss are his widow Cynthia and children Francis, Margaret and Bill.