The newly elected 13th Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan (Anglican) of the Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI), Howard Gregory, says the Church is now dealing with changes and several challenges confronting its congregation..
Gregory, the Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, who was elected to the post during the 40th Synod of the CPWI underway here, replaces John Holder, who retired as archbishop in February 2018.
The CPWI comprises eight dioceses, namely Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica & the Cayman Islands, Northeastern Caribbean and Aruba, The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Windward Islands.
The Archbishop-elect told a news conference that among the problems confronting the church are internal challenges such as finances, evolving demographics and social issues. He said human trafficking and the political situation in Venezuela where the United States is backing attempts by opposition forces to unseat President Nicolas Maduro were also situations the Anglican Church had to confront.
He said Trinidad and Tobago was experiencing the Venezuelan situation “at this point more than anyone else” given the flow of Venezuelans arriving here both legally and illegally to escape the situation in the South American country.
He said while there is recognition of Trinidad and Tobago’s humanitarian role in the situation” there has to be a limit to that.
“We also have to recognise that there are reasons why people are coming here and that some of the solutions that are being articulated internationally are not acceptable,” he said.
Port of Spain is to start a registration exercise at the end of the month to allow all Venezuelans, including those here legally, to register, so as to ascertain how many of them are on the island.
Archbishop Gregory believes that the Church needs to be part of the engagement without being political or emotional telling reporters it should rely on the theological and biblical teachings.
He said it was also important for the Church not to condemn but to engage persons who are moving away in search of spirituality.
“Help persons to explore their spiritual life because spirituality has to do with much more than just formal institutional alliance and institutional relationships,” he added.
The Province of the West Indies was established in 1883 and Archbishop-elect Gregory is the third bishop of Jamaica to be elected, following Enos Nuttall, who served as bishop of Jamaica 1880-1916 and who was elected primate on May 26, 1893 and William Hardie, bishop of Jamaica 1931-1949, who was elected archbishop in 1945 and served until his resignation in 1949.