[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A year of celebrations marking the 175th anniversary of the West Indies’ Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba (DNECA) was launched on Sunday. The DNECA was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury when it was formed in 1842. It was disestablished in 1869 and gained its “independence” when the Anglican Province of the West Indies was formed in 1883. Today the diocese serves the 12 islands of Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, Nevis, Saba, St Barths, St Eustatius, St Kitts, and St Maarten.
The year of celebrations – “Celebrating our Heritage – Seizing the Moment – Embracing the Future” – got underway with a special diocesan-wide service on Sunday (28 August) at St Andrew’s Church in the St John’s district of Antigua. A “chain” of regional celebrations will now take place in the coming months in each of the islands, beginning this month with celebrations on the island of Anguilla. The chain will be completed in August 2017 with another service in Antigua – whose capital, St Johns, is the seat of the diocese. These celebrations will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Diocesan Synod.
Archbishop John Holder, the Primate of the West Indies, celebrated and preached at Sunday’s service, which was hosted by the DNECA Bishop Errol Brooks.
Bishop Brooks has asked every Anglican in the diocese to mark the anniversary by making a one-off donation of $175 XCD (approximately £49 GBP) towards an endowment fund.
The Revd Reid Simon, the parish priest of St Paul with St Barnabas churches in Antigua, and member of the provincial synod, said that various activities will be held to mark the anniversary, including moving tents and educational caravans on issues of faith and society, as well as prayer pilgrimages. The Five Marks of Mission will feature prominently in the various activities which will be held during the year.