“ON POINT: Waiting for the ‘white smoke’”


Another stalemate! Unbelievable! I am not a member of the Anglican Church, but I must confess what has been happening in this denomination is both intriguing and mind-boggling.

Even after a fourth meeting this week to choose a new Bishop of the Anglican Church, there is still no clear winner. 

Bishop John Holder, the previous holder of that office, retired in February, and from April 25 when the first meeting of the elected Synod was held to choose a new head, the Anglican Church has been unable to do so.

NATION journalist Gercine Carter, a staunch member of the Anglican Church, has covered every meeting and at the end of every night when I expect to hear her report on a new Bishop, I find myself being disappointed.

Clearly, there is a deep divide between the laity who is clearly behind Reverend John Rogers, 45, and Dean Dr Jeffrey Gibson, who has the backing of the clergy.

In the latest round which took place on Monday, reports showed that the voting pattern remained the same as in the past. Gibson received 44 clergy and 20 laity votes, while Rogers received 31 clergy and 57 laity votes.

It is clear who is backing whom for Bishop.

Now, the matter has to be sent to the region’s House of Bishops for the decision to be made.

For the record, the last time the House of Bishops had to select a new Bishop of Barbados was back in 1972 when Bishop Drexel Gomez was named.

I expected that after this round of voting I would have seen the “white smoke” coming from the Ivan Harewood Centre in Christ Church.

Usually, when a new Pope is elected, the papal conclave (College of Cardinals) communicates through smoke signal. Black smoke means they haven’t found a new Pope, while the white smoke indicates a new one has been chosen.

It is unfortunate that after all this time, “black smoke” still looms over the Anglican Church.

This speaks of a larger issue within the church.

When people speak of this unsolved matter, there is a sense of pain in their voices. Some in the Anglican Church are not happy with this stalemate and want the matter resolved as soon as possible.

This division in the Church needs to be dealt with even before a new Bishop is selected. One thing is for sure – the new Bishop will have a task on his hands in easing the pain caused by this process, healing the wounds and bringing about unity.

Just as the verdict from the jury is final, we can only hope that the members of the Anglican Church will accept the decision of the House of Bishops.

Until then, we await the white smoke. (CM)