Five decades celebrated
Hundreds gathered at Christ Church Cathedral on Tuesday, November 1, to celebrate the Christian life and witness of the Right Reverend Gilbert Arthur Thompson, assistant bishop of the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The service took the form of a Solemn Pontifical Eucharist with Bishop Thompson serving as the Celebrant. The sermon was preached by The Reverend Crosley Walkine, rector of St. Matthew’s Parish, and a “son” of St. Barnabas Church. Deacon for the Mass was The Reverend Whitfield Hutcheson, assistant curate of St. George’s Parish.
Characterized as a humble, caring priest, Bishop Thompson has served his 50 years in two parishes in The Bahamas. He was priest at St. Peter’s Parish, north Long Island from 1961 to 1968 and rector at St. Barnabas Parish, New Providence from 1968 to 2000.
On June 24, 2000 he was consecrated Suffragan Bishop of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and served in that capacity until 2005. During the period he also served as diocesan registrar, chairman of the commission on ministry, and as a member of the provincial commission on ministry.
Bishop Thompson was a canon of Christ Church Cathedral from 1990 to 1998, and served as archdeacon of the West Central Archdeaconry from 1998-2000. He served as rector pro tempore of his home parish of St. Agnes, New Providence from 2006 to 2007.
Bishop Thompson was born in Nassau on October 17, 1935, to the late William Edward and Corene Thompson. He attended St. Agnes Day School, Western Preparatory, (1941-1943), Western Junior, (1944-1946), Western Senior, (1947-1948), St. John’s College, (1949-1952) Teacher’s College, Nassau (1953-1955) Codrington College, Barbados (1956-1961) and Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
He holds a General Ordination Certificate ACTM, UK; a Lambeth Diploma in Theology (S.Th.) Lambeth Palace, London; and Masters of Arts (Religious Education), Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey.
Prior to testing his vocation to the priesthood, Bishop Thompson was an educator, and served as headmaster of the Victoria Point School in Andros from 1955 to 1956. He was a justice of the peace, member of council for College of The Bahamas, chairman of the Anglican Central Advisory Council for Education (1985 – 1995); member of the public disclosure committee, member of Southern Library board (1972 – 1990); a member of Nassau Library board; national chaplain of the Girls Brigade Council (1972 – 2008); lecturer at Templeton Theological Seminary, Teacher at St. John’s College and chaplain to the Senate (2007).
In appreciation for his service to the church and community, he was honored by Queen Elizabeth II, and named as a companion of the distinguished order of St. Michael and St. George.
Bishop Thompson is the author of Instructions for Anglicans, and is currently writing the History of the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands.
He is married to Olga Louise Thompson (nee Major), and the father of Maude Angela Williams, Heather Anne (Clement) Maynard, and Gilbert Anselm (Jahzeel) Thompson, and grandfather to Falon Williams, Amelia Maynard, Mary Maynard, and Gilbert Thompson III.
Present at the service were the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, Opposition Leader Perry Christie, and former Governor General Arthur Hanna.
The Right Reverend Laish Zane Boyd, Diocesan Bishop, and The Most Reverend Drexel W. Gomez, retired Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies/Assistant Diocesan Bishop were also present.
Large numbers of parishioners from St. Barnabas Parish, where Bishop Thompson served as rector for 32 years, St. Agnes, his home church, The Anglican Church Women (ACW) and Anglican Church Men (ACM) organizations, other New Providence parishes, and the wider Diocesan family were present at the service.