31st July, 2014

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"Let Us Celebrate our History"


The Reverend Canon Samuel Sturrup

My Dear Parishioners,

Let us share our Stories. It is good to be here!

After working with a number of student teachers at the San Salvador Teachers Training College September 1972—June 1975, I was assigned to St. Thomas Parish Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands.

I followed many of those student teachers to the Turks and Caicos Islands. My arrival date was 6th August 1975-the feast of the Transfiguration-that Wednesday we celebrated my first Eucharist in the territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands: it was good to be here. ‘Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”’. Matthew 17:4

My work in the Colony took me to Salt Cay, the Parish of St. John, the Evangelist: to South Caicos called East Harbour by the older people, the Parish of St. George; and Grand Turk where the Parish is St. Thomas and a Church of ease St. Mary the Virgin, still stands on Front Street; so does the Rectory. St. Mary is now the Pro-Cathedral of the colony. At the time of my service, Canon Stanley Clifford Jones, retired civil servant was the only Turks Islander to serve in the Anglican Church as a Priest, now there are five Turks and Caicos Islanders in the Anglican Church serving as Priests, I like to think that my short stint in Turks Islands made the difference in the number of Clergy now serving the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In 1975 Provo was a dream: Laymen like Nattie Robinson, District Commissioner and Maurice Hanchell also a District Commissioner, used borrowed and rented quarters to hold services. They encouraged the resident priest at Grand Turk to bring Bishop Michael Hartley Eldon to investigate the potential of Provo for Anglican work. The Third Turtle was often used for accommodations and meals. The work was plentiful, I issued a challenge to laymen like Curtis Robinson and Lamuel Been to accept that challenge and they did. Others I felt could help were Willie Hawkins and Charlie Been. I, like the farmer of old, had thrown the seeds and a few had taken root. Priests like Gregston Gooding—who had worked with me in West-End Grand Bahama, when he was a Layman, Connor Lynn and David Webber served the church well. The sons of Turks and Caicos Islands in the ordained Ministry are: Crosley Walkine, Rector of St. Anne’s Fox Hill: Norman Lightbourne, Rector of Holy Cross, New Providence and Bernard Been, Curate, St. Agnes, New Providence.

The Story of the evolution of St. Monica’s must be told. Felix Grant and Patricia Duff must be written in the annals of the Anglican Church in Provo. Here am I, some thirty-two years since I set foot on Grand Turk: it is another Transfiguration and it is still good to be here. Provo now rivals Grand Turk in the area of Economics. There are signs which suggest growth for the whole territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Clergy of the immediate past:

Sylvanus Regisford, Howard Williams, Assistant Priest and Priest-in-Charge, Canon CS, Jones and Samuel Sturrup—August 1975 thru January 1976 Rector.

I offer a challenge to you, to put in sequence the following:
Eric Sam, John Dever, Kirkley Sands, David Webber, Lamuel Been, Raymond Jones, Charles Davidson, Mark Kendal, John Austin, Gregston Gooding, Colin Sampson, Hugh Chapman and Neil McIntosh.

Let us treasure our history so that we will be a part of our children’s story. Let us tell the story of the Laity, who helped to lay a sure foundation for this church, of which we are a part. The church is our treasure, it has given us a faith to live by: it has given us the assurance that Jesus is Lord of the earth and that includes St. Monica’s in Provo.

This year 2007 marks 37 years since my ordination to the Diaconate by the Right Reverend Bernard Markham, Lord Bishop of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. During my tenure, which still goes on, as Clerk-in-Holy Orders; there have been three Diocesan Bishops: 1.1 Bernard Markham 1.2 Michael Hartley Eldon 1.3 Drexel Wellington Gomez 1.4 Laish Zane Boyd –Co-adjutor

Bishop Spence Burton was the Bishop who confirmed me. Drexel Wellington Gomez became the first Bahamian to become Archbishop of the CPWI. Michael Hartley Eldon became the first Bahamian Diocesan Bishop of Nassau. Donald Roland Knowles became the first ever Bahamian to become a Diocesan Bishop, when he accepted the See at Antigua.

The Anglican Church is an Episcopal Church; it is managed by Bishops, Priests, Deacons and the Laity. The Church subscribes to the Apostolic Succession in the One, Holy catholic and Apostolic Church. One of two nuns in our church-Francis Anne, is a Turks & Caicos Islander. She serves at the Priory of our Lady, Walsingham, Norfolk. The other nun is Sister Felicitas from Long Island, Bahamas. On a daily basis let us celebrate and thank God for our history and our stories.

The Right Reverend Laish Boyd will lead a new chapter in the story of the people of God in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. I know him well; he is a fair man, he will lead us with justice and mercy. We thank God for those who still lead and for their contributions which have brought us this far on our spiritual journey.

May our gracious God continue to have mercy on us.

The Reverend Canon Samuel Sturrup

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