Diocese mourns passing of Bishop Alfred Reid

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

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The Anglican communion was plunged into mourning late Monday night with news of the passing of the Right Rev Alfred Charles Reid, the 13th bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Bishop Reid, who died at his home in Manchester, was 82.

His passing comes three days shy of the fourth anniversary of the death of the man he succeeded as diocesan bishop on December 12, 2000 Neville deSouza.

Yesterday, the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, in announcing Bishop Reid's death, noted that one of his outstanding achievements was the printing the Book of Common Prayer for the Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) in 2007 and publishing the CPWI Hymnal, featuring Caribbean tunes and hymns, in 2010.

The diocese also noted that the programme for the celebratory banquet held in honour of Bishop Reid and the late Bishop Don Taylor on October 7, 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of their ordination to the priesthood, said that Bishop Reid “represented a generation of church leaders who have successfully laid the foundation for the Jamaicanisation of the Anglican Church to create a decisively indigenous identity and to engage the community which it serves”. It also said that Bishop Reid worked to “preserve the heritage of the church” while, at the same time, promoted “innovative religious expression”.

“Another notable achievement under Bishop Reid's watch was the quantum leap in the music ministry with the integration of Caribbean rhythms in the worship of the church. In the mid-1970s, as rector of St Jude's, Stony Hill, he commissioned the Reggae Mass composed by noted musician Willie Lindo,” the diocese noted.

Bishop Reid was enthroned as Diocesan Bishop in the Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega, Spanish Town on January 25, 2001 and served until his retirement in December 2011.

At the time of his election he was the suffragan bishop of Montego Bay, having been elected to that position in 1980. He therefore served as a bishop for almost 40 years.

A graduate of St Peter's College, he was ordained a deacon in 1960 and a priest in 1961. He served for five years as curate at St James Parish Church in Montego Bay before assuming responsibility for the Lucea Cure of churches in Hanover. His subsequent assignments included rector of the Vere Cure in Clarendon, rector of the Stony Hill Cure in St Andrew, chaplain of the Jamaica Defence Force, and acting warden of United Theological College of the West Indies.

He was also a member of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians and the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation.

Bishop Reid, who was conferred with the Order of Jamaica in 2005, was also bestowed with the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Episcopal Divinity School.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips described Bishop Reid as a voice of truth in the church and the nation, as well as a great man of integrity who was very influential in the Anglican Church in Jamaica and in the Province of the West Indies and beyond.

“He was a patriot who believed in the goodness of the Jamaican people, our culture and our potential, and was essentially a humanitarian who contributed much to nation-building. He also made significant impact with the modernisation of the Anglican communion in Jamaica, both liturgically and musically,” Dr Phillips said.

Bishop Reid is survived by Gloria, his wife for over 50 years, their three children Randall, Annette and Damian and four grandchildren.


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