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ALTAR CALL: Tribute to man with ‘excellent spirit’

Cheryl Harewood

ALTAR CALL: Tribute to man with ‘excellent spirit’

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AS TRIBUTE AFTER TRIBUTE was heaped upon Ryan Phillips, Public Relations Officer and Coordinator of Prison Ministry Programmes at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds on Pentecost Sunday, Reverend Clayton Springer of the Carrington Wesleyan Holiness Church summed up the many accolades and words of honour by describing Phillips as “a man with an excellent spirit”.
Scores gathered at the Welches, St Michael church during the special thanksgiving and honour service to pay tribute in song, testimony, and through tokens of appreciation to Phillips. Some wept.
Taking his text from Daniel 6:1-6, Springer recounted that Daniel had travelled to a distant land, away from  family and friends, but found intimacy with God in the midst of his mundane existence.
His message was centred on a call by the United Nations for Phillips to spend over a year working in South Sudan, helping the government and prisons there.
    “Daniel was also called to serve in a foreign land”, Springer stressed, “and there was no fault or error to be found in Daniel or his God.” He said because of Daniel’s excellent spirit, he rose above his colleagues and enemies.
Springer also noted that the same God who kept Daniel in a foreign land replete with foreign practices would also keep Phillips in South Sudan.
The preacher added that “courage is a part of having an excellent spirit” and told Phillips, who is also Regional Training Officer for the Caribbean Association of Corrections and Assistant General Secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, that God would enable him to go where angels feared to tread.
“You will not be fearful, and we applaud you for your excellent, committed spirit,” Springer said.
In his tribute, Prison Chaplin Father Clement Paul disclosed that Phillips “brings a spiritual, religious presence to the prison,” while Dodds Acting Chief Officer Phillips Walters described him as “a hard-working member of Her Majesty’s Prisons for 21 years” who always answers the call and whose void would be hard to fill”.
Phillips, who wears many hats, is also Champion of the Prison’s Second Chance Initiative, a Caribbean Emergency Training Officer of Trainers, and a counsellor.
He was also praised for his work with Project Change (in a special video clip) by United States-based Minister Judy Linton and her team from Healing For the Soul Ministry.
Win Callender, Head of the Prison Fellowship, described Phillips as “one of the pillars underneath the strength of the prison fellowship in Barbados”, while Sharon Weekes of the Garrison Mentorship Programme noted that among other things, Phillips was resourceful and wanted to see children develop academically, spiritually and emotionally.
Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations General Secretary Dennis De Peiza noted, “We are losing a good man.”
Phillips was also described as passionate, humane, innovative, loyal, peaceful and sociable by others who paid tribute, among them Graydon Sealy Secondary School principal Matthew Farley, teacher Rosalind Corbin, Reverend Steve Moore of the Circle of Hope Ministry, Cuthbert Lewis of Justice Empowerment, Junior Prescod of the Barbados Defence Force, Sonia Trotman of the C.A.R.E. Community Group, Richard Bryant of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and others.
Special tributes in songs were also paid by Grace Brathwaite, Kareen Clarke, Paula Hinds, Shanice Thomas, Ryan Rayside and Nicola Best (tribute in verse).
The Faith Augmented Ministry team, headed by Patrick Richardson, led in the service coordinated by Jennifer Reid of Healing For The Soul Ministry.
Phillips responded by thanking everyone and explained that he saw his many roles simply as “fulfilling my duties”.
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