While the Anglican Church prepares to inform congregants across all churches in the Diocese concerning what was behind the revocation of the License of former Archdeacon J Everton Weekes this Sunday, some congregants seem to be in disagreement with the openness of the church on the matter.
When news broke following the announcement by the Bishop of the Windward Islands, the Rt Reverend Leopold Friday, at the St George’s Cathedral last Sunday, the majority of the reactions were, “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.
When SEARCHLIGHT reported on the matter in its November 9 Midweek edition, many expressed on social media, their opposition to the disclosure by the Bishop.
“I think it’s disgusting that Bishop Friday chose to make this public. No one of us is without sin. The church should have dealt with it quietly in house and let Everton retire without smearing his name all over. Most of us, if we have any moral compass, have done things in our distant past that we are ashamed of, but we grow and mature and ask God for forgiveness, and we move on and don’t make the same mistakes again. We were Anglican Church supporters, but now I think our tithes and gifts will go elsewhere if this is how the Anglican church treats people,” one person commented.
“Those without sin cast the first stone! After 30 years? Absolutely ridiculous! Friday’s actions were vicious and despicable..” another stated; while another alleged: “Obviously some animosity between the Bishop and the Archdeacon …If a crime was committed and it’s still within the statute of limitations then the information could be turned over to the relevant authorities. If it did not meet that threshold and could be dealt with without the public shaming then that option would be considered. The timing of all this after 30 years just sounds suspect to me.”
One comment buried within the mass of comments was that, “History shows that when churches cover up misconduct, the priests do not stop the abuse. I applaud the Anglican Diocese for sticking to their regulations when it comes to misconduct. It’s those churches that look like a bed of roses I get anxious about.”
Another person thought of the wellbeing of the complainant. “Many go to their graves with the injustices that have happened to them, the amount of time passed never makes the acts easier to cope with, especially without therapy,” the individual said.
According to what was announced in the Cathedral last Sunday, the Church recently received a complaint from a woman speaking of events said to have occurred when Weekes was serving as a priest in charge at Grace River Doree/St Paul’s Anglican Churches, in St Lucia.
When they confronted the Archdeacon about the acts of gross misconduct, he apparently did not deny it.
“Upon receipt of [the] complaint in writing, we forthwith invited the former Archdeacon Weekes to meet with us at Diocesan Office, Anglican Pastoral Centre, New Montrose, Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines to address the complaint on Monday 1st November, 2021. At the meeting, we presented former Archdeacon Weekes with a copy of the complaint which he read. We then asked him to say whether the contents of the complaint were true. He responded in the affirmative and we sought advice from the Diocesan Chancellor and former Archdeacon Weekes was asked to suspend all ministry immediately,” the statement said.
Following this the Archdeacon, who has attained the age of ‘compulsory’ retirement of 70 years, submitted a letter of notice for his retirement with effect from November 1.
Simultaneously, the Church has made it impossible for him to act as a priest from November 1.
“Due to the very serious nature of the complaint and being a matter which is repugnant to the responsibilities and vows of a priest and which the Church regards as abhorrent and does not condone, We the Bishop of the Diocese of the Windward Islands revoked our General License with effect from November 1, 2021,” the statement on the matter said.
The Diocese said that a copy of the statement will be read on November 14 in all churches in the Diocese of the Windward Islands, which comprises congregations in Grenada, Carriacou, St Lucia, Petit Martnique, St Vincent, and the Grenadines.
Weekes was ordained a deacon on December 21, 1976, entered the priesthood on August 7, 1977, and took up the role of Archdeacon on January 1, 2014.