Bahamas archdeacon sacked


Bahamas archdeacon sacked


George Conger

The Bishop of the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands has written to his clergy announcing he had “no confidence” in one of the Caribbean diocese’s senior archdeacons and had removed him from office. In a letter dated 21 January 2016 the Rt. Rev. Laish Boyd said the Ven Ranfurly Brown, Archdeacon of the West Central Bahamas and rector of St Agnes Church in New Providence, had shown “open disrespect” to the episcopate and had uttered “words and actions that were grossly inappropriate and injudicious.”

Bishop Boyd wrote the dismissal had nothing to do with the archdeacon’s criticism of Prime Minister Perry Christie.  At an August funeral of a prominent businessman where Archdeacon was presiding, the prime minister and other dignitaries were allotted three minutes to speak. In his parish newsletter Archdeacon Brown chastised Mr. Christie for arriving late, speaking too long, and offering a political speech rather than a eulogy for the deceased. Archdeacon Brown was later asked to apologise for his criticism of the prime minister but declined to retract his words, which were used by the opposition in the legislature to criticize the government.

In his pastoral letter Bishop Boyd wrote “It is most unfortunate that information about this diocesan administrative matter has hit the public domain prematurely, with the accompanying embellishments and interpretations, that is, stating that the sole reason for my decision was archdeacon’s failure to apologise to the prime minister. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

He wrote “over the years, the archdeacon has committed several notable infractions,” and “These are all in the public domain and their cumulative effect is untenable. It is not an exaggeration to say that this has brought disrepute to the church, and hurt too many of the faithful.”

He added: “As diocesan, I deserve to have persons in my Advisory Council who are supportive, cooperative, whose behaviour represents the office of bishop well, and in whom I can repose confidence.”

Bishop Boyd asked his clergy to “advise people that the bishop has his reasons for his actions. This, of course, is in keeping with Anglican polity whereby the bishop makes certain appointments. And I believe it is true to say that all of us know the veracity of the issues and concerns I have raised.”

The archdeacon and the bishop declined media requests for comments, though supporters of the archdeacon say the dispute had reached a highpoint over complaints by Archdeacon Brown the bishop was dumping incompetent clergy into his archdeaconry.