After an entire day of deliberations and four rounds of voting, the Anglican Church last night failed to elect a new bishop.
There were indications that a hard line was drawn between clergy and laity in the selection of a candidate, as ballot after ballot showed clergy leaning more heavily towards Dean Dr Jeffrey Gibson, while the laity maintained overwhelming support for the younger Rev John Rogers.
The elective synod, comprising Anglican priests who make up the House of Clergy, and members of the congregations who are called the House of Laity, began the process with a religious service at Christ Church Parish Church at 9:30 a.m.
Four candidates were nominated for election when the voting process started around 5 p.m. They were Gibson, Rogers, Dr Monrelle Williams and Canon Noel Burke.
After the first round of voting failed to reach the two-thirds majority in favour of any candidate, there was a second round which resulted in the elimination of Burke, based on the votes garnered.
A trend developed early in the third round indicating that Rogers and Gibson were the favoured candidates, with the votes showing the clergy’s preference for Gibson, while the laity held steady for Rogers.
Priests and laity could be heard in heated discussion outside the Christ Church Parish Centre during breaks, and as the hands of the clock moved towards 10 p.m., members of the elective synod returned inside the building where Canon Wayne Isaacs outlined several options.
A fourth ballot was the choice. But at the end of this, neither of the two candidates in contention had reached the two-thirds majority from both the priests and laity. The decision was therefore taken to adjourn the meeting.
Isaacs told the media another meeting of the elective synod would be convened within the next seven days in another attempt to select a bishop.
If this failed, the matter could be referred to the House of Bishops of the Province of the West Indies, which might select a new bishop for Barbados. (GC)