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Bermuda - Mission Possible
On May 29th, Dr. Will Williams, AFP President, accompanied by his wife, Nancy, and AFP Executive Secretary, Mary Hilton and her husband Bob, traveled to Bermuda to participate in an 11 day mission in Pembroke Parish. Missioner and Storyteller for Mission Possible was The Rt. Rev. Charles Duvall, retired Bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and speaker and Bible Study leader at past AFP International Conferences.
In the opening Eucharist of the mission, held on Accension Day at St. John's Church Bishop Duvall challenged us to "broaden our horizons" beyond our local parishes, reaching out to those outside the church and carrying God's saving word to them. Throughout the 11 days this is exactly what we did!
On Friday, Dr. Williams, Mary and Bob Hilton met with The Rt. Rev. Ewen Ratteray, Bishop of Bermuda, and Archdeacon Arnold Hollis, a long time (some 20 plus years) supporter of AFP, to discuss Bermuda organizing a national AFP council. The Bishop was very cordial and welcomed this effort.
Saturday afternoon was spent at the mission church of St. Augustine in an open air jazz vespers. (St. Augustine's is one of 2 daughter churches sponsored by the church of St. John, Pembroke.) Local jazz artists, instrumentalists and vocalists alike, offered their time and talents, as we celebrated. It was, indeed, joyous to see many people who were not members in attendance. Also a number of local residents came out on porches and balconies of their apartments to listen. Bishop Duvall shared the story of the transfiguration, encouraging those in attendance to carry God's word out into the surrounding community much as Jesus admonished Peter and John not to stay on the mountain top, but to go down off the mountain to the people.
Saturday evening was a celebration banquet at the Bermuda Princess Hotel honoring 9 long time servants of the Lord from churches of Pembroke Parish. Many people enjoyed perusing the AFP Bookshelf.
Throughout the week, Mary and Bob visited different parishes, telling about the AFP work, visiting with AFP Partners who have attended many conferences and supported the work of AFP, and setting up the AFP Bookshelf (even on a wall and on the lawn adjacent to a church). At the invitation of Canon Keith Wassall, Residentiary Dean of the Cathedral, the Bookshelf was carried to the Cathedral to be available to the tourists and other people who toured the Cathedral through mid-afternoon. Friday evening found the mission breaking new ground in a very exciting way. The mission came to the streets just outside of St. Monica's Church, the second daughter church of St. John's. St. Monica's is in an area that has been taken over by drug dealers and the like. The street was closed to automobile traffic as we set up the AFP Bookshelf and other tables in the street. (This didn't keep out the motorbikes, which most people drive in Bermuda!) The event was well attended and young children came out as did many of the local residents to hear Bishop Duvall share the "Birth Narratives", watch liturgical dance groups dance, and enjoy a local recording artist of Christian Jazz sing. It was a joyful occasion of celebration in the Lord and the beginning of reclaiming this area f rom drugs and other criminal activity and hopefully, bringing many back to the Lord or to the Lord for the first time.
On Sunday, the Feast of Pentecost was celebrated at the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity. Approximately 1000 members from all of the churches of the diocese came together for a wonderful worship service. Bishop Duvall preached as Bishop Ratteray, assisted by all the clergy of the diocese, celebrated the Eucharist. The Lord is truly doing exciting things in Bermuda!
A special thank you to Father Gary Colville of St. John's, Pembroke, Ray and Deb Bell, host family of the Hiltons and Ven. Dr. Arnold Hollis for making the arrangements for AFP to join in this exciting mission. For the full story and pictures, visit the website at www.afp.org.
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