Local clergymen pay tribute to the late Bishop Michael Eldon
On Monday February 7 the Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands suffered a loss in the quiet passing of the Rt. Reverend Michael Hartley Eldon. Bishop Eldon will be greatly remembered as being the first Bahamian bishop of the local Anglican Diocese and also as a profound educator.
Eldon, whose ministry has spanned 57 years, starting when he was 23 years old, has done more than just cater to the needs of his own denomination. For many in the wider community he was a pinnacle of light and an inspiration. His natural ability to care and express genuine concern and love for all will not be easily forgotten.
Below, local clergymen share their reflections on the well-loved bishop.
Canon Basil Tynes
Rector, St. Barnabas Anglican Church
“Bishop Eldon was truly an inspiration to me. He ordained me as a deacon and later as a priest many years back. The one thing I remember the most about him is that he was always keen on moving the ministry forward for all. He was a source of encouragement. He was also the kind of bishop that sat and spent time in every rectory so he could really get to know us all. I remember the numerous occasions that he came to visit my family and I in Long island for those years that we spent there. He always came ready to listen and relate whether it was about the ministry itself or about your everyday life. For him, people mattered and he went out of his way to show this. There are so many memories I can share with you but Bishop Eldon was great. But as we talk about ministry we should remember that all ministry is God’s ministry. So even though we can say that Bishop Eldon accomplished this much or that much, it was his deep-rooted faith and belief in God that helped him do it all. He wouldn’t want anyone to think otherwise. You cannot praise the man without acknowledging God who made it all possible.
“And what many people may remember even more about Bishop Eldon is that even when he wasn’t still bishop of the diocese, he was still very much involved in most things. Although in the later years he became confined to a wheelchair, he still made the effort to come out and attend the ordinations of the younger clergy. He always wanted to be there and he did what he could, even if it was just a word or two. I also felt he got a new appreciation for life itself when he had to start using a wheelchair. He grew to appreciate the struggles of the disabled and had more compassion in this capacity. He was always willing to learn even at the very end. He will truly be missed.”
Bishop Simeon Hall
Pastor, New Covenant Baptist Church
“Bishop Eldon’s presence and influence was far broader than the Anglican community. He truly served The Bahamas. In my view he was a Prince of the Christian Church. I knew him personally. When I was president of the Christian Council I often referenced him. He was truly an inspiration, and one thing I will remember about him is that he was always pleading for all of us to do more in the development of the Family Island communities. This is still something that has not been addressed as much as it should be, and I believe that we should truly put action behind these ideas, not only in honor of him, but as a religious community.”
Bishop Ros Davis
Pastor, Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries
“To me Bishop Eldon was a true Bahamian. I knew him personally and it was always a pleasure. I usually met up with him at the airport as we both would be heading to a Family Island as a part of our ministry. Whenever he saw me he called me by name and inquired about my family especially my wife who was an Anglican and her family. We had that friendly relationship also because my wife’s mother Aida often took care of him whenever he had to visit Ragged Island, and that was dear to him. Also, he was a great influence on me when I was president of the Christian Council. In my younger days I remember that he was the one who taught me by example how to be a bishop. He was never just an Anglican. He was a truly Christian Bahamian gentleman. He was a true mentor and father to us all. So now that he is gone I think it is a bittersweet passing as he is no longer in any discomfort but he will be greatly missed.”