St. Andrew’s Anglican Church celebrates its Patronal Festival
Anglicans from around Long Island came together recently to celebrate and begin yet another church liturgical year, as they celebrated the Patronal Festival(birthday of a particular church)of St. Andrew’s Church in the serene settlement of Whymms, after the church had been closed for a number of years for extensive renovations to the edifice’s physical structure.
In celebration of the Patronal Festival, Anglicans from St. Peter’s in the north and St. Paul’s in the south came together in the palatial picturesque edifice of St. Andrew’s to laud the life and witness of the apostle Andrew.
The church, which spiritually reared the first Bahamian born bishop in Donald Knowles, was adorned with flags on the exterior and the altar decorated in the patronal festival color of red denoting the color attributed to apostles.
Newcomer Fr. Jonathan Archer, rector at St. Paul’s Parish, preached the sermon to the packed church overflowing with jubilant members. The gospel reading for the Eucharistic celebration was taken from St. Matthew’s chapter 4 verses 18-22 in which Jesus is walking down the Sea of Galilee and comes into contact with brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and James and John the sons of Zebedee. Fr. Archer in his sermon preached on the simple yet profound words of Jesus when he told Andrew and his brother Simon Peter, that He would make them fishers of men.
Fr. Archer reminded the congregation that certain Long Island settlements are built around fishing communities and spoke of his enjoyment of fishing as a hobby. In his sermon, he asked a poignant and rhetorical question to the congregation:”What are you fishing?”
The priest told the congregants that the apostles were fishers of men at a time when there were no motorized boats or devices like global positioning systems(GPS)to enable fishermen to target fish and determine storms, so fishing during that era he said was extremely dangerous.
He told the congregation that Jesus picked some of the most unlikely characters to assist Him with spreading the gospel message, and said that the mere thought of the two brothers along with the sons of Zebedee leaving their father in the boat and following Jesus should sensitize each Christian of their duty and obligation to be a witness and fisherman for God and His Son Jesus Christ through the power of the Hold Spirit.
After the Eucharistic celebration, members congregated under the belfry to share in table fellowship and to meet and greet different members of the Anglican Community in Long Island.
St. Andrew’s which re-opened its doors to the community in July after extensive renovations is expected to be re-dedicated in early 2011 by Diocesan Bishop Laish Boyd, according to Father Chester Burton, rector at St. Peter’s Church in north Long Island. The re-dedication is expected upon completion of the bathroom block and the church’s office facility.
Fr. Burton, priest-in-charge of Long Island, was present at St. Andrew’s Patronal Festival.