Caribbean Anglican Gifts

In a multiplicity of ways and forms of expression, the foregoing list of Anglican characteristics finds their examples illustrated throughout the eight ecclesiastical districts (dioceses) that comprise the CPWI. But it is not just the Anglicans in the Caribbean region itself that exemplify these characteristics; for the vast surges of Caribbean Anglicans who migrated to the Northern climes always took their Anglican habits with them, and have continued to embody so much of the Caribbean Anglican gifts away from their homelands. Thus the assessment of Caribbean Anglican gifts must always include the encounter of Caribbean migrants in the Diaspora with other expressions of Anglicanism.

What then are some of the Caribbean Anglican gifts that are broadly exercised throughout the CPWI and beyond? Five areas readily suggest themselves.

ONE: Because Caribbean Anglicans are fully aware of the fact that the “church” is not the building but the “people”, there is a preponderance of evidence that suggests that the high levels of Lay Involvement and Leadership serve to accentuate one of the primary gifts among the people. Various historical reasons may well be found to account for this, but what stands out in Caribbean Anglican culture is the declining reliance on the clerical orders to carry out the work and ministries of the church. The efficacy of ordained leadership in the liturgical life of the church is usually enhanced by the vivacity of the non-ordained lay-leadership in all the other spheres of ministry and witness in the life of the church.

TWO: Throughout the region that is ministered to by the CPWI, there is a distinctive demonstration of the Anglican Church’s commitment to, and achievement in, the area of Educational Enrichment. The Anglican concerted efforts to link the nurture of the soul with the development and formation of the intellect have always given rise to the establishment of schools, colleges, and other institutions of places of learning and human development.

THREE: The history of Anglicanism has generally been associated with a fertile relationship between the Church and the State, so much so that Ecclesia Anglicana has often been called the “Church of the King”. This has not always meant that the relationship is mutually affirming, since the laws of God very often bring the laws of the state under veritable and moral judgment. Accordingly, one of the important gifts of Caribbean Anglicanism has been the Pastorate of the Political. Anglicans have generally been gifted in exercising their civic involvement by affording pastoral, prophetic, and practical advice and guidance to the political cultures in the region without endorsing or engaging in any subtle modes of partisanship. The ethical and spiritual demands of the Gospel are unconditionally committed to the supremacy of Truth over the dominance of Power.

FOUR: Because Anglicanism has historically spread through all the corners of the globe, and has taken root in almost every sphere of human cultural and ethnic endeavour, contextualization of the faith has inevitably been accompanied by the indigenization of the leaders of the faith communities. A very specific gift of Caribbean Anglicanism has been demonstrated in the Indigenization of Clergy and Liturgy. This has been powerfully evidenced in the early rise of Episcopal and clerical indigenization that help to radically roll back the legacies and residual effects of colonialism and external control of regional affairs, both sacred and secular. Caribbean liturgy, leadership, and living have all been blessed by a divinely inspired determination to give full meaning to Caribbean blessings from on high.

FIVE: It is generally inherent in the Caribbean character to find ways of celebrating with thanksgiving things both great and small. Indeed, it can truly be said that throughout the region the dominant mantra is summed up in these words: “We celebrate because we are”. It is that basic desire to celebrate life and all that comes with which is so highly evident in Caribbean Anglicanism. Accordingly, The Celebration of the Gospel by corporate means of festivals, events, gatherings of various modes, serve to give life and substance to the vitality of worship, the virtue of witness, and the value of work.

 

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