Fri | Sep 25, 2020

Anglican Bishop of Kingston Robert Thompson retires

Published:Sunday | August 2, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Rt. Reverend Dr Robert Thompson (centre) entering the Kingston Parish Church for the start of the Independence Day church service on Sunday, August 2, 2020 – Ian Allen photo

Anglican Bishop of Kingston, the Rt Reverend Dr Robert Thompson, has retired after almost a half-century working for the Christian Church.

The clergyman today laid down his pastoral staff on the altar of the Kingston Parish Church after leading a service to mark Independence Day 2020.

He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in 1974, and has been bishop for the past 15 years.

The Bishop of Kingston is one of the most powerful offices in the local church.

"I'm doing this at the right time," Thompson said, "when I can laugh at myself, having learnt not to take myself too seriously because whatever I have achieved over these years, there are others to come who will achieve even greater things."

Using the gospel of the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes and the story of Jesus rebuking his disciples for wanting to turn away the poor and hungry, Thompson preached about the importance of collective action and inclusiveness in dealing with problems such as crime and poverty.

"If I learn one thing during this COVID-19 period, it is the inadequacy of the autonomous self and that God is summoning us to a new way of thinking about how we might collaborate with each other, and with God himself."

Speaking about his time in the Majesty Gardens community, he said the relationship with the church became strained because residents, though grateful for assistance, were not a part of the decision-making process.

"They were not part of the solution. They were only recipients of our aid.

"Successive administrations within this country have failed to come up with a workable social contract because, in my opinion, those on the margins of society have never been invited to the conversation," Thompson said.

"So, we expect to resolve crime in our inner cities and the primary stakeholders are hardly ever consulted."

Following the service, the outgoing bishop blessed the city of Kingston.

Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams was among officials in attendance at the service.

Thompson's replacement has not been announced.

Some noteworthy things about Bishop Thompson:

1. Past student of Jamaica College and hails from Fort William, Westmoreland.
2. Graduate of McGill University and holds a doctorate in ministry from Episcopal Divinity School (2004).
3. Ordained third Bishop of Kingston in May 2005.
4. Served on boards and committees, including the Institute of Jamaica and Jamaica Justice Reform, and Kingston College.
5. Married with two sons.
6. Served at St Andrew Parish Church, St Jude's, Stony Hill, and St Mary the Virgin.

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