For only the sixth time in its history, the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago will consecrate a new bishop. Canon Claude Berkley, current rector of All Saints Anglican Church, will be consecrated in a ceremony expecting to last just over three hours on Thursday morning at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Berkley was elected Bishop Coadjutor on October 31 and will replace current Bishop Calvin Bess when he retires from office on December 18. Berkley, who is originally from Tobago, will become the first person from that island to hold the post of bishop. It will be the sixth time a bishop will be consecrated in 139 years.
At a media briefing at Hayes Court yesterday, Bishop Bess said many parishioners, especially from Tobago, would be present at the ceremony, along with President George Maxwell Richards, Members of Parliament and representatives of the diplomatic corp. The ceremony starts at 9 am with a procession of witnesses from City Hall. The procession will include visiting bishops and clergy, lay ministers, acolytes and the Archbishop of the West Indies, Reverend John Holder, who is also the Bishop of Barbados. The procession will proceed east along Knox Street, south along Frederick Street and West onto Hart Street before entering the cathedral.
Bishop Bess said the ceremony would include several high points, among them examination of the candidate by the House of Bishops and a prayer for the candidate during which he would lie prostrate as an act of surrender to God. Each of the visiting bishops will present the new bishop with various items, including a ring, mitre, Bible and a pastoral staff. Canon Berkley said his election was a momentous occasion and his main focus upon assuming office would be to address the church's shortage of clergy, build membership in the church and strengthen confidence among Anglicans in their faith.