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BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]


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A modest group gathered at St Joseph’s Parish Church on Saturday to bear witness to its deconsecration, which signalled the final function there of its rector Reverend Errington Massiah.
Presided over by Bishop of Barbados Dr John Holder, the solemn ceremony marked the end of an era, as the more than 300-year-old structure, with 173 of those years as a consecrated property, will no longer be recognized as part of the diocese.
Holder, in a brief sermon, advised the congregation not to let fond memories stop them from accepting the inevitable and to move on in faith.
He said the occasion would well provide the inspiration for a new church, one which would one day be a “reservoir” of pleasant memories for others.
However, he added he hoped not to have to preside over another deconsecration in the near future.
Massiah said it was indeed a sad occasion and brought to an end his 28-year affiliation with the church on that spot.
“I was aware the boiling had to go . . . [but] it is [still] a sad occasion,” he said.
Chairman of the Barbados Diocesan of Trustees, Dr Hartley Richards, explained the necessity of the event as the church could not risk harm to anyone in the vicinity of the crumbling building, which was officially closed in July last year. He assured the congregation a suitable location to rebuild was being sought.
“The next thing we have to do is replace the building. Rebuilding a parish church is going to take considerable time and effort as we have to make sure the next location would last as long as this one had,” he said.
As such, he said the church would be seeking corporate help, adding it was already in negotiations for a spot of land. However, Richards asked the congregation to be mindful the trustees were also dealing with the refurbishment of the St Michael Cathedral, as well as other projects.
Artist Fielding Babb is assisting in fund-raising by selling off prints he created of the church, as well as a painting. He said half of all proceeds would be given to the rebuilding effort. (CA)