From Monday, October 31 to Tuesday, November 8, I returned home to Barbados at the invitation of the Rector, Church Council (Vestry) and People of All Souls’ Anglican Church, Bank Hall, St. Michael. I was invited to preach at their Feast of Title Celebration (All Souls’ Day is November 2) and their 90th Anniversary of being a Christian presence in the Bank Hall area. Unfortunately, my family was unable to join me on this trip since it was during school time and we did not want to take our children out of school. Nevertheless, it was great to be back home but it was truly a working trip. Originally I had planned to write my sermons while in Florida before reaching Barbados but that plan did not materialize because of a number of commitments. As a result, I wrote one sermon before leaving Florida, which was the one I preached on the first night. This meant that I spent the daytime writing sermons and the night preaching them.
The Rector of All Souls’, The Rev. Coleridge A. Darlington, who incidentally is my cousin, met me at the Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados. My second mom, Marjorie, was also there to welcome me. As usual, when I arrive in Barbados, the first thing I always have are two rotis from Cheffette Restaurant. I did not have to go far since one of those restaurants are now at the airport. After lunch, I drove to my parents where I would spend the week. It was wonderful to see them and they were excited to see me since I had not been home in three years. With a few hours to relax and to look over my sermon, it was time to head to All Souls’ Church, with my mother, for my first of seven preaching engagements. My parents, siblings, other family members, and friends including members of the clergy, would also be in attendance during the week.
The theme of my sermon series for the week was, “Beyond These Walls: The True Us.” I focused on Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, and each night, I shared a different sub-theme:
Monday, October 31 – Faith
Tuesday, November 1 (All Saints’ Day) – Evangelism
Wednesday, November 2 (All Souls’ Day) – Love
Thursday, November 3 – Living True Lives
Friday, November 4 – Hope
Sunday, November 6 (Morning) – Community
(Evening) – Overview of the Week and Exhortation
Each night, in addition to the All Souls’ Parish Family, there were guests from organizations around the Diocese of Barbados. These organizations included the Mother’s Union, Men’s Fellowship, Altar Servers (Acolytes), Prayer Groups, Church Army, Youth, and Choir. There were also different kinds of services each night – Evensong (Monday), Eucharist (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday morning), Mission Service (Thursday), Youth Service with dramatic, musical and poetic presentations (Friday), Musical Extravaganza (Sunday evening). The services, which were very well attended, were an opportunity for me to re-acquaint with friends and congregants of parishes in which I served as a priest in Barbados. Due to the long conversations after the services, each night I usually got home around midnight.
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On Friday, I had lunch with some dear friends of many years, Graham and Marion, at one of my favorite dining places, Brown Sugar Restaurant. It specializes in authentic Barbadian (Bajan) cuisine and local drinks. It was wonderful to return there. In fact, two times were a charm since I would dine there again with Father Darlington on the following Monday, the day before I returned home to Florida.
Saturday was a free day from preaching, but not from writing sermons. As usual, I woke up in the morning, ate breakfast and then started writing my sermon for Sunday morning, which incidentally was broadcast live on radio throughout Barbados and the Caribbean, unknown to me until I got to the church on the Sunday morning. Father Darlington greeted me with, “Father, I have some good news and some bad news.” I said, “Yes?” He continued, “The bad news is that you will be preaching live on Voice of Barbados this morning.” I asked, “What is the good news?” He replied. “The same as the bad news.” From all reports the sermons were well received by those who attended and I believe that seeds have been sowed and I prayerfully hope will mature.
Nevertheless, back to Saturday. After writing my sermon, I visited my in-laws, then my brother and his family, to see my niece, Annalisa, my newborn nephew, Ethan, (just a month old), and their new home. Then it was off to visit one of my clergy friends, Father Michael, his wife, Dawn, and their sons. I wanted to visit and to see the new rectory at the Holy Trinity Parish, where I was a former Rector. My second Mom was also there visiting. I had visited her at her home on the Tuesday afternoon.
The day before I left Barbados, I spent the day doing some personal stuff including getting a couple of souvenirs for my wife and children, visiting my parents-in-law, among a few other things.
All in all, it was a great trip and I completed the purpose for which I was called to do, but it was work, not pleasure – no going to the beach, or sightseeing around the island.
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