Our Readers' Opinions
February 12, 2016
Supervisor of Elections’ absence explained?

Editor: On Sunday, 7th February, 2016, I attended the 7 a.m. mass of the St George’s Cathedral congregation at the Anglican Church of the Ascension at Sion Hill. Just before the recessional hymn, a member of the congregation, in her capacity as a representative of the Ministry of Health, was invited to present some information on the Zika virus health threat. I found this to be a commendable act, as information on this clear and present danger needs to be disseminated at each and every available opportunity. What better place than in the ‘Lord’s House,’ where, as a congregation, we ought to be sharing much more than the ‘Peace of the Lord’.{{more}}

This, however, was not the view of one parishioner of notable standing. I was taken by surprise by the audible discontent that I heard coming from the pew behind me, which ran in competition with the presentation from the podium. From the moment the invitation was extended, the good lady began her negative utterances… waste of time, unnecessary, heard this already, nothing new, information readily available… When the name of the Minister of Health was mentioned, this seemed to evoke additional fury, resulting in hissing (stupsing) of teeth and continuous negative commentary throughout the presentation. Interestingly, I heard no rebuke from persons sitting on either side of the good lady.

It is my opinion that this action demonstrated a high level of disrespect of and intolerance to the well-intentioned act of another parishioner, who was simply providing information to the congregation on an emerging health crisis. Whether we had heard it all before is irrelevant, as others may not have been that fortunate. As members of the Christian community, our responsibility goes beyond attending Sunday morning mass. After all, where is our care and concern for others and our society?

On my way home, I reflected on the three minutes of ‘discomfort’ experienced by my fellow parishioner, which came at the end of the two-hour long mass and was even more disgusted at her behaviour. If this is the attitude displayed by one parishioner to another after participating in the offering of the Peace, the sacrament of Holy Communion and simply worshipping as ‘one’, then small wonder that Ms Sylvia Findlay, supervisor of elections, has not been in the congregation in recent months. Her absence is noticeable and her daughter’s reference to the silence of the Anglican Communion towards her abuse rings louder. (Refer to article written by her daughter in Searchlight newspaper of Friday, 22nd January, 2016). Such a display, perhaps, explains the absence of Ms Findlay, who is seemingly unable to find solace, strength, empathy and other forms of support within the walls and pews of the St George’s Cathedral, during what must be a most challenging and stressful period of her life.

This is not the first incidence of discontent with or intolerance of persons that I have experienced or heard of emanating from the pews of the Anglican Communion of St George’s Cathedral. Such sentiments must surely explain why Matthew 18:20 says ‘for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’ – this to me suggests tolerance in His presence. Ms Findlay can continue reading Matthew and she will find in 28:20 the words ‘and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’.

Anglican Communicant