Some Considerations regarding the adoption of the title “Bishop”
(Adapted from Greetings from the Faith and Order Commission of the MCCA, on the occasion of the Recognition of Rev’d Everald Galbraith, as District Bishop)
In the Connexional Conference of 2000 held in Belize City, Belize, it was decided that “the MCCA accepts the introduction of the Title of Bishop. This Title will be accorded to those duly elected as Presidents of the Connexional Conference and Districts. The person will function as President per the Standing Orders and his or her designation will be Bishop”
This decision was built upon a process of discussion for over ten years or even as far back as 1992, and a discussion taking place ever since John Wesley left the Anglican Church in England.
The Faith and Order Commission is aware of the concern regarding the manner of the Recognition: is it a submission to re-ordination? Is it consistent with the Deed of Church Order and Doctrinal Standards?
The Faith and Order Commission, however, is clear that if as a Church we have done more, certainly we have not done less than being true to the pattern of ministry and Church Order in the New Testament, that is, confer a biblical designation to a function.
This means that our episcopacy remains within the Courts and Councils of the Methodist Church; and it does not place the Bishop in a class above any other Colleague. Yes, for the purpose of church order the Bishop is first among equals. Yet, the Bishop has no more authority or power than that designated in the Constitution and Discipline of the MCCA.
Note that the Rev Everald Galbraith will not be given a mitre, Bishop’s hat; a pastoral staff, a rod to guard the flock; a ring, a symbol of faithfulness to the Church; and no chair, in any chapel in the District, as a seat of authority.
May God grant Bishop Galbraith the grace and the Church which he leads the faithfulness to make of the Methodist Church in Jamaica one that is passionately evangelical, biblically shaped and lives hopefully. While we may do more, God desires no less.