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The presence of the Anglican Church can be traced from the very beginning of Bahamian History. The Eleutherian Adventurers after 1647 made the first settlement of the English after these islands had been more or less abandoned by the Spanish. It is said that the Eleutherian Adventurers included two Anglican priests who had left the church. In 1670 the Bahamas was granted to the Lord Proprietors of Carolina by the English Crown. Among the requirements of this Grant was the establishment of churches in the islands. Christ Church Cathedral dates from 1670.

As stated earlier, the presence of the Anglican Church in The Bahamas can be traced to the earliest English settlement but it was in 1729, with the arrival of the first Royal Governor, Woodes Rogers, that the church was established by law. According to Roger's Royal Instructions, the Bishop of London, Edmund Gibson (1723 - 1748) became technically Bishop of the Bahamas. On September 6 1734, the entire Bahamas was erected into one parish of Christ Church. In 1768, St. John's Parish was created a second Parish which was made up of Harbour Island and Eleuthera. This can be attested to by visiting the Parish Church of St. John at Harbour Island dating back to the early eighteenth century. The Untied Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (formerly the Society for the propogation of the gospel) was in those early days generous in providing missionaries, priests especially from 1733 - 1807 and from 1836 until modern times. In addition the Society for the promotion of Christian Knowledge and Dr. Bray's Associates contributed generously o the building up of the Church in The Bahamas. The Christian Faith Society contributed in the past and sill in fact do so.

In 1824 the Diocese of Jamaica was created and The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were incorporated in this Diocese. An Act of The Bahamas Legislature of 30th January, 1826 recognized the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Jamaica, Christopher Lipscomb over the clergy in the Bahamas. Bishop Lipscomb visited the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands four times in 1826, 1830, 1834 and 1839. The Bahamas was elevated to an Archdeaconry in 1844 by Aubrey George Spencer, second Bishop of Jamaica who also appointed the Rev. John McCammon Trew as Archdeacon in the Bahamas. The Archdeacon lived in The Bahamas from 1844 to 1857, when he returned home to Ireland. Bishop Spencer visited The Bahamas from 1844 to 1857, when he returned home to Ireland. Bishop Spencer visited the Bahamas five times in 1845, 1847, 1848, 1850 and 1852. The Lord Bishop of Kingston, Reginald Courtney was the last Bishop from Jamaica to visit The Bahamas.

The people in the Bahamas were not satisfied with the occasional visits of the Bishops from Jamaica added to which was dissatisfaction over the decision of Bishop Spencer in 1850, and Bahamians begun to see the need for a bishop of their own. In 1848, The Turks and Caicos Islands seceded from the Bahamas and later came under the jurisdiction of Jamaica, although remaining under the Archdeaconry of the Bahamas this matter was concluded 140 years ago on 4th November 1861. On that date, The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were erected into a separate diocese. Dr. Charles Caulfield, the successor of Archdeacon Trew was consecrated the first Bishop of Nassau, In Lambeth Palace (The London Residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury). The new bishop arrived in Nassau in May, 1862 and Nassau by the same Letters Patent, became a city. The Letters Patent were proclaimed with much ceremony on the steps of the public buildings by the Provost Marshall, and were read in Christ Church Cathedral in the presence of a large number of parishioners and government officials. On 17th June, 1862, in the Cathedral, 6 priests took the oath of allegiance to their bishop, Unfortunately the first bishop of the diocese died prematurely in September 1862 of Yellow Fever. He was succeeded by Addington Robert Peel Venables (nephew of Sir Robert Peel).

In spite of setbacks from time to time, The Church has continued to be a tower of strength to the Bahamian Community.

Since its creation as a Diocese in 1861, The Diocese has intensified its ministries of pastoral care and education in conveying its mission in these islands. From its earliest years, the church has established primary and secondary schools. The latter ones continued until the early years of the 1930's.

During the episcopacy of Bishop Spence Burton S.S.J.E., The Diocese returned to the field of secondary education after a lapse of many years. A diocesan high school called St. John's College (After The Patron Saint of the Diocese St. John The Baptist) was established in 1947. This was followed a few years later (1955) by St. Anne's High School which started out as a parochial venture under Canon Pugh. There is another - Freeport High School at Freeport, Grand Bahama.

On 24th June 1971 Michael Hartley Eldon was consecrated Suffragan Bishop with the title Bishop of New Providence. Less than a year later on April 20, 1972 the Diocesan Synod unanimously elected Michael H. Eldon, Bishop Suffragan as 11th Bishop of Nassau and the Bahamas including the Turks and Caicos Islands. Similarly, on 1st September, 1996 the Rt. Reverend Drexel Gomez as he was then succeeded Bishop Eldon as Diocesan Bishop, Bishop Gomez has been Bishop Co-adjutor of the Diocese prior to his elevation. Bishop Gomez during his episcopate was elevated to the post of Archbishop and the Metropolitan of the Province of the West Indies becoming the first Bahamian to do so as Diocesan Bishop of this diocese.

To date this Diocese has had thirteen diocesan bishops with our present Dishop being The Right Reverend Laish Zane Boyd. There are three retired Bishops the Rt. Rev. Arthur Thompson, Bishops Michael Eldon and Drexel Gomez . Bishop Laish Boyd succeeded the following bishops:

Diocesan Bishop

Episcopacy

Charles Caufield 1861-1862
Addington Robert Peel Venables 1864-1876
F.A.R.C. Cramer Roberts 1878-1885
Edward Townson 1886-1900
Henry Norris Churton 1902-1904
Wilfred Bird Hornby 1904-1918
Roscow Shedden 1919-1931
John Dauglish 1932-1942
Spence Burton, S.S.J.E. 1942-1961
Bernard Markham 1962-1972
Michael H. Eldon 1972-1996
Drexel W. Gomez 1996-2009
Laish Z. Boyd 2009-present

 

Archbishop Drexel GomezDuring these hundreds of years the clergy and missionaries of this scattered Diocese have ministered to all and sundry, high and low in all sorts of circumstances and some have been in perils of the deep and lost their lives providing the gospel to our Bahamian people.

We can rightly say that the Anglican Church in The Bahamas and in The Turks and Caicos Islands has been true to its calling and mandate as given to us by our Lord and Saviour himself: " Go therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I give you". Matthew 28:19-20.


Anglican Diocese makes
another Donation to Haiti Relief

Anglican Chorale & Friends
“Hope For The Nation” Concert,
This Friday at Christ Church Cathedral

Fr. Cornell Moss
Consecrated Bishop
of Guyana.

 

 
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