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Anglicans electing new bishop today


CANON ERRINGTON MASSIAH

Anglicans electing new bishop today

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The Synod of the Diocese of Barbados will be meeting today to elect a bishop for Barbados, who will be replacing Dr John Holder who retired in February.

The Synod begins with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 9 a.m. at Christ Church Parish Church, which will be followed by the elective Synod at the Ivan Harewood Complex, Christ Church Parish Centre.

During this session the floor will be opened for nominations and the expected candidates are:

• Dr Jeffrey Gibson, 61, Dean of the St Michael’s Cathedral;

• Rev. John Rogers, 45, rector of St George Parish Church;

• Canon Noel Burke, 60, rector of St David’s Anglican Church;

• Rev. Dr Michael Clarke, 58, principal of Codrington College; and

• Rev. Dr Monrelle Williams, 64.

In order to be elected as bishop, a candidate has to gain a two-thirds majority in both Houses – the House of Laity which consists of 84 people, and the House of Clergy comprising 91. In the 2000 elections, the late Canon Frank Marshall, Canon George Knight, Dr John Holder, Archdeacon Eric Lynch and Rev. Michael Clarke were nominated.

After the first ballot, Clarke received six votes in the House of Clergy and five in House of the Laity; Lynch received three votes in each House and Marshall seven votes in the House of Clergy and six in the House of Laity. They were forced to withdraw because of the low votes.

The process for the election is found in Regulation C1:4ff as follows:

• On the day appointed, the Holy Eucharist shall be celebrated and the Synod under the presidency of the Diocesan Administrator, or failing him the Archdeacon or failing him the Dean, shall proceed after the roll call to choose a bishop either by direct election or by delegating the choice to a selection committee. It shall be lawful for the Diocesan Administrator to request Synod to elect a president for the meeting. No stranger shall be present during the Electoral Meeting.

The president shall have an original vote but not a casting vote. Any question which shall arise as to the interpretation of this regulation shall be determined by the president after consultation with the Chancellor or Registrar. The decision of the president shall be final and binding.

• If the Synod decides to elect a bishop, the president shall call for nominations in writing. No person shall be eligible for nomination unless he be a bishop or a priest of not less than 30 years of age and of the Province of the West Indies, or of a church in communion with the Province. Any nomination must be signed by two members of the Synod, of whom one shall be a clerk in Holy Orders and must be supported by evidence in writing of the nominee’s willingness to stand for election.

• After debate, the Synod shall close nominations and two clergymen and two lay representatives shall be appointed by Synod to act together as scrutineers. Voting papers shall be prepared and the Synod shall vote by Houses. The ballot shall be secret and a two-thirds majority of each House present shall be necessary for election.

(a) The voting papers shall be examined by the scrutineers and the result communicated to the president who shall announce the result openly. If any one person has obtained not less that two-thirds of the votes of each House present, he shall be thereupon declared elected.

(b) If there is only nomination and the person nominated fails to receive the required majority, in each House, and if none of those nominated received the required majority, the president shall call for another ballot and the voting shall be repeated. It shall be allowable before any ballot after the first for a nomination to be withdrawn by the proposer and seconder.

The name of the clergyman who received the lowest number of the aggregate votes of both Houses on the second ballot shall be withdrawn, unless such clergyman shall have received one-fifth of the votes cast in either House, and no votes shall be counted for him on any subsequent ballot and on each succeeding ballot. The name of the clergyman who has the lowest number of the aggregate votes of both Houses shall be similarly withdrawn if he has not receive one-fifth of the votes cast in either House, until finally one has received the required majority of the votes of each House.

When the number eligible for election has been reduced to two or until none of the clergymen nominated is subject to elimination, as in the previous paragraph, provided then a final ballot shall be taken and if as a result such ballot, no clergyman receives the required number of votes, then Synod may decide.

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