Sunday, June 23 was an important day for the members of St. John the Baptist Anglican Church. On this day they celebrated the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist in a Patronal Festival. Rector of the St. John the Baptist Church, Rev. Willish Johnson, welcomed members of the clergy of the Northern Archdeaconry who came to participate in this special service.
They included Fr. Ian Claridge, Rector of Mary Magdalene Church, West End, Grand Bahama who preached the sermon; Fr. Cooper, Rector of St. Stevens, Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama; Fr Deangelo Bowe, Rector St. Simon by the Sea, Treasure Cay; Fr. Earle Hepburn, Chaplain of the Bishop Eldon Anglican High School, Grand Bahama who was formerly Rector of the St. John the Baptist Church, Marsh Harbour and Archdeacon Harry Bain, Rector of the Pro Cathedral, Christ the King, Grand Bahama. Members of St. Martin’s Anglican Church travelled from Sandy Point to celebrate with their fellow Anglicans.
The service began with a processional of all of the priests, catechists, wardens and servers and proceeded with joyful hymn singing by the congregation and participation by members of the Anglican Churchmen and Church Women. The choir added a special touch with its lively renditions.
Fr. Ian Claridge’s sermon text was taken from the book of Luke ch.1 verses 63-66 and his sermon dealt, appropriately, with the birth of the church’s patron, John the Baptist. ‘We do not think of our children coming to challenge us but John did and we should share our awe and wonderment at the message of John the Baptist,” he stated. “John the Baptist did not concern himself about social graces and did not set out with the goal of being different from everybody else but came to tell people to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah by turning away from sin. He told people of the standards expected of them and their need to change their ways and allow God to work through them. John’s message involves repentance and to clean up your life and your way of living,” he continued. Fr. Claridge ended his sermon by reminding the congregation that John is their patron; he has done his part and now it is their turn. “We can live our lives by loving those around us,” he declared.
At the close of the service Archdeacon Harry Bain spoke a few words to the congregation telling them how pleased he was to be celebrating the glorious feast of St. John the Baptist with them. He stated that the following day would make 34 years of his ordination to the priesthood and he was glad to be celebrating his anniversary on Abaco. “It has been wonderful to share in this beautiful service and I urge you to continue to work with your rector, giving Rev. Johnson your full support, and to witness along with the body of Christ.”
Following this service of praise and thanksgiving, a reception was held in the parish hall.