The Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands is gearing up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of consecration as a bishop of Archbishop Drexel Wellington Gomez.
The diocesan celebration scheduled for June 24 will be led by the Archbishop of the Church in the Province of the West Indies, His Grace, The Most Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory, bishop of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, in his first visit to the diocese as archbishop although having served as the suffragan bishop of Montego Bay in the Jamaica/Cayman Islands Diocese for 10 years, he would have visited The Bahamas many times in that capacity.
The Rt. Rev. Peter Eaton, bishop of the companion diocese of Southeast Florida, and the Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson, retired Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, are also among the special guests.
Several events have been planned for the anniversary including a golden jubilee lecture by Bishop Robert M. Thompson on the topic: “Anglicanism and the further Witness of the Church in the Province of the West Indies” on Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at St. John’s College Auditorium.
A pontifical eucharist of Thanksgiving, at which Gomez will be the celebrant and Archbishop Howard Gregory, the preacher, takes place on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral.
The archbishop and other visiting bishops will attend a drive-in youth rally marking Gomez’s 50th anniversary of the diocesan youth department.
Gomez will also speak at an annual diocesan pontifical solemn evensong and benediction on the occasion of the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the diocese, on Sunday, June 26 at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, June 26. Gregory will meet the clergy of the diocese on Monday, June 27.
Gomez is a native of the Berry Islands and came to New Providence at age seven. He lived on McCollough Corner west off East Street. He grew up in St. Agnes Church on Baillou Hill Road, attended Western Senior School and went to seminary at Codrington College, Barbados. He was ordained deacon on December 21, 1959 and priest on February 1, 1961.
He worked as a parish priest, diocesan secretary administrator in The Bahamas, and as a lecturer at Codrington College. He served as Bishop of the Diocese of Barbados from 1972 to 1993, Bishop of the Diocese of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands from 1996 to 2008, and Archbishop of the Province of the Province of the West Indies from 1998 to 2008. He retired from active ministry on December 31, 2008, but remains involved in many areas.
Gomez is also the founding head and a lecturer of the Anglican Theological Institute.