Keen contest for new Barbados bishop

Dean Jeffrey Gibson, one of the priests vying for bishop of Barbados.
Photo by George Alleyne

Election of a Barbados Anglican bishop ended in a stalemate Wednesday as the last two candidates each earned the backing of only one of the two houses of the Anglican synod, but rules state that the winner must be selected by both.

This has resulted in the process being rescheduled for another meeting of the elective synod, which will convene within the next seven days to have a go again at deciding on a bishop.

Should there be another failure to elect an Anglican leader of Barbados, the matter may be referred to the House of Bishops of the Province of the West Indies, which might select a new bishop for Barbados.

The marathon session of voting began with four candidate priests vying to replace retired Bishop John Holder but the elective synod, comprising Anglican priests who make up the House of Clergy, and members of the congregations who comprise the House of Laity, whittled the contestants down to two following the first two rounds of voting.

This drew battle lines between 45-year-old Rev. John Rogers and Dean Jeffrey Gibson, 61, the two remaining candidates.

In the following two rounds of voting the Clergy favored Gibson with 46 votes, and the Laity sided with Rogers, giving him 55 votes.

Voting began about midday and there was a need for repeated rounds because an elected bishop must emerge with at least 51 votes from the Clergy and 53 from the Laity.

Polling went on until close to 11 pm when a halt was called to proceedings and another date set.

The House of Clergy comprises 91 priests from all Anglican churches on the island, and the House of Laity has 84 members, two each drawn from the churches.

John Holder retired as both bishop of Barbados and archbishop of the Church of the Province of the West Indies at the end of February.

This ended his stint of Anglican leader of Barbados from 2000, and eight years of leading eight districts of the church in the Caribbean region.

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