Alfred Reid's life was a missionTuesday, December 17, 2019
BY MIGUEL A THOMAS
THE Anglican community in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands yesterday bid farewell to Alfred Charles Reid, the 13th lord bishop of the diocese, in a mass of resurrection at the seat of the church — the Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega in Spanish Town.
In the sermon delivered by Suffragan Bishop of Kingston Robert Thompson, the life and ministry of the late Reid was described as not just witness, but as a mission.
“Today a grateful diocese and province join with [the family] in giving God thanks for the ministry of Bishop Reid... His life was not simply a task, but a mission... and now we must bid him farewell,” he said.
Thompson said because of his life's work, the church remains assured that “all tears will be wiped away” even as there is grief for his passing.
In recognising Reid's near 60 years of ministry, Thompson described him as a “hopeful, courageous and self-confident” man, with a special “kind of humility and grace”. He explained that while Reid was a prince of the church, he was not pompous; and though he held strong views, he ensured that every voice was heard.
He added that Bishop Reid was no victim of death and that the faithful could take confidence that he had a “good death... something so many dream of”.
“At the risk of sounding morbid,” Thompson said, “...the way Alfred chose, the way of service, is the way of joy and peace not of this world.”
Scripture lessons were read by Reid's sons Randall and Damian, respectively, and the service was attended by clergy and bishops from across the Province of the West Indies with whom he worked.
Archbishop of the province, Howard Gregory, recalled Reid's love for history and commitment to cultural expression in worship. He recounted the many accomplishments of the late bishop in ministry, adding that many things advocated by Reid are so much a part of the Anglican community's identity in the region that they are taken for granted by today's worshippers.
Gregory said Reid was part of a number of Caribbean bishops who used history “to inform our faith journey and shape the future... even if it disturbed the status quo”.
He told the congregation in the packed cathedral that Reid mentored many young clergy and bishops as part of his commitment to the growth of the diocese.
The liturgy for the service was enhanced by tunes and hymns written by many Caribbean composers as was encouraged by Reid, which culminated in the compilation and introduction of the Church in the Province of the West Indies Hymnal. The sitting choir for the service, the Diocesan Festival Choir, led church music written by the late Noel Dexter, Richard Ho Lung, Rev Daren Evans, and Mapletoft Poulle. The choir also contributed Negro spirituals and excerpts from the works of Handel, among them Thine be the Glory from Judas Maccabeus; the grand Zadok the Priest; and the Hallelujah chorus from The Messiah.
The body of the late Bishop Reid will be laid to rest in a private interment at St Jude's Church, Stony Hill — a church with which he worked to construct a new building while serving there in the early 70s.
Reid is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Gloria, their sons and daughter Annette.