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April 22, 2005

While Catholics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines welcomed the naming of a new Pope, the local Anglican community will soon be losing their beloved Bishop.

Dr. Sehon Goodridge, Bishop of the Windward Islands in the Province of the West Indies has resigned from his post SEARCHLIGHT has learnt. {{more}}

Although it had not been formally announced up to press time it is expected that Bishop Goodridge’s departure would become effective July 31, 2005.

Bishop Goodridge, who was elected to the Windward Islands in December, 1994 was head of the Diocese which spans seven islands. They are St. Vincent, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Grenada, Carriacou and St. Lucia.

Dr. Godridge, a Barbadian by birth, has endeared himself to his Vincentian flock over the period he has been leader of the Anglican Church here. He has also been known to express strong views on moral issues and in particular on homosexuality. These latter sentiments he made known very clearly when the issue of homosexual priests came up after an openly gay Anglican bishop was ordained in the United States.

St. Vincent has the highest percentage of Anglicans in Bishop Godridge’s Diocese, with approximately 25% of the island’s population belonging to the Church of England. There are 16 parishes with 55 churches or places of worship in the Diocese, 25 of them in St. Vincent, 18 in Grenada, 5 in St. Lucia and seven spread over the smaller islands of the Grenadines.

SEARCHLIGHT learnt that Bishop Goodridge made the announcement to the Diocesan Council on Tuesday, April 19, 2005. When we contacted him Wednesday, he said he needed to make a formal announcement to his parishioners before giving details to the press. He however did not deny that he was stepping down.

His office explained that there was protocol that must be followed, including informing and getting a response from Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the Bahamas-based head of the Anglican Church in the region.

Until a new Bishop is elected, Dean Patrick McIntosh will act as Administrator of the Diocese.

The local Catholic community on the other hand was this week still coming to terms with the record election of German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. His election was the quickest ever in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The 78-year-old new head of the world community of 1.1 billion Catholics has taken the name Benedict XVI. He replaces Pope John Paul II, with who he had served as right hand man for much of the late Pope’s tenure until his death.