Day 2: Tuesday

One of the features of this cruise for me was that it was “freestyle cruising.” This gave me the wonderful opportunity to be lazy and to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted – like sleeping late, watching television and reading a book. My wife enjoyed getting up reasonably early and enjoying the view from the balcony.

On Tuesday morning, we arrived in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. Prior to leaving Florida, we had arranged with our friend, Father Michael Gittens, who is also one of the godfathers of our children, to spend the day with him. He met us at the port at 10:30 a.m. and off we went “church touring” – visiting some of the churches on the island. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][As a side note, in speaking to Bishop Frade and his wife, Diana, the next day, they also went church touring in Grand Bahama, with the Archdeacon of the Northern Archdeaconry. They visited some of the same churches we saw but our paths never crossed. The Bishop mentioned that the Archdeacon was telephoning the churches trying to locate the clergy but now he realized why he could not find them – they were all with me].

The first stop was Good Shepherd Anglican Church, Pinder’s Point, where a Barbadian-born priest is the Rector. She was away on vacation in Orlando, Florida, with her son, however, her husband, the Rector of St. Mary Magdalene, West End, remained on the island.

The next stop was St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Eight Mile Rock, where I have known the rector for about 18 years. St. Stephen’s is a beautiful small church situated on the beach.

Then it was off to the Church of the Ascension, Lucaya, where Father Mike is the Rector. He replaced the current Bishop of Guyana, Cornell Moss. Ascension is a beautiful church externally and internally. It is one of the best looking churches on the island, if not the best (not my bias).

St. Jude’s, Smith Point, was the next stop, another church that was near the beach. Father Michael spent his curacy there in the late 1990s. This original church, which was situated a few yards away, was destroyed by fire in 1995 and a new edifice was built and consecrated in 1996.

All four of the Anglican churches we visited in Grand Bahama were very well maintained and beautiful, with great facilities like large parish halls, soccer fields, basketball courts, and multi-purpose facilities. Two of the parish halls were named after a bishop (Michael H. Eldon), and a priest (Eric Sam) and the soccer field named after another bishop (Drexel Gomez). Another realization about some of these churches, like Good Shepherd and Ascension, was that they were not surrounded by homes but were located in isolated areas, while the other two, St. Stephen’s and St. Jude’s, were ocated next to the beach.

At Church of the Ascension, we saw a reserved parking sign for the “Coffee Hour Leader,” a very important person in the church. My friend, Fr. Mike and I joked about that.

We also visited the rectory of the Good Shepherd, Pinder’s Point, where we met with Fr. Ian Claridge (St. Mary Magdalene, West End) and Fr. Rudy Cooper (St. Stephen’s, Eight Mile Rock). It was a wonderful conversation, reminiscing about seminary life, parish ministry and observing the involvement and excitement of these guys’ interest in the upcoming political elections in their country.

Next, we went to Father Michael’s home, where we chatted with his mother, Ordene, met Fr. Michael’s assistant priest, Fr. Earl Hepburn, and ate lunch before returning to the port for our 5:00 p.m. departure.

Back on the ship, we met with Father James and Eli for a time of relaxation and conversation before the four of us went to the Cagney’s Steakhouse on Deck 12 for a lovely dinner.