Let God elect the Bishop
To the Laity of the Elective Synod of the Diocese of Barbados:
My brothers and sisters in Christ, I write as a former member of the Synod of the Diocese of Barbados (1972 to 1977), representing St Leonard’s parish and a lay trustee of the Diocesan Trustees (1983 to 1986).
I served as a member of the Regulations Subcommittee of the Synod which revised the 1970 regulations, thereby enabling an elective process that may continue to July.
I invite you to read the Service for the Ordination of a Deacon, particularly the Examination (page 461 of the Book of Common Prayer) (BCP) and that for the Presentation at the Ordination of a Priest (page 446 of the BCP). I also ask that you consider the vows respectively made by deacon and priest to obey the Bishop on the day of their ordination and renewed annually on Maundy Thursday.
In the context of the special relationship between the Bishop and the clergy of the diocese, I would respectfully suggest that the laity of the Elective Synod reconsider their stance of seeking to determine who should be the next Bishop.
That having been said, in the interest of the church at large and the nation, I would respectfully suggest that if at the reconvened Elective Synod on May 14, 2018, deadlock remains after a number of ballots, the candidates from April 25, withdraw and Synod should adjourn for mature and prayerful discernment of the person who can heal the fractures within the church.
I am often mindful that the late Bishop Sehon Goodridge, who had been recently appointed principal of Codrington College, opted not to accept the nomination in 1972 by the House of Bishops, to be the Bishop of Barbados. God, however, in His infinite wisdom wanted Sehon to be a Bishop in the Church of God, and in the fullness of time he was elected Bishop of the Windward Islands.
Submitted for your prayerful consideration.
– Christopher Blackman QC