A Pastoral Letter on the Establishment of The Community of the Good Shepherd of the West Indies in the Diocese (CGSWI)

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I wish to announce the founding of the Community of the Good Shepherd of the West Indies (CGSWI), a Monastic Community begun in our Diocese.

The Community of the Good Shepherd is a dispersed (non-residential), contemporary, monastic community of Anglican men and women, married or single, lay or ordained, who live in the communities they serve.

History
In May of 2023, Mrs. Cecilia Askew and Br. Michael-Jude Mortimer approached me with the view of establishing a local monastic presence in our Diocese.  This is not entirely new because for decades since the 1920’s we had various orders of nuns and monks from England and America working here. They contributed tremendously to church life, church growth and personal development in the Diocese. I therefore welcomed the idea of a new local version of religious life and asked them to establish a Working Committee to look at all matters relative to the establishment of a Monastic Community.

The Working Committee was formed and consisted of:

Clergy: Fr. Don Haynes, the Rev. Desirée Johnson, and Fr. Ruel Strachan.

Lay Persons: Vashti Adderley (All Saints, N.P.), Cecelia Askew (Holy Cross, N.P.), Gillian Delancy (St. Monica, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands), Dantae Fowler (St. Margaret, N.P.), and Br. Michael-Jude (Holy Cross, N.P.).

The Working Committee concluded its assignment and presented a report of their work to me on 15th September 2023.  That report included the name chosen, the Motto, the Constitution, the Customary (rules and regulations) and Rule (beliefs) of the Community.

In October 2023, I advised Br. Michael-Jude that recruitment and formation can commence.  To date there are eleven Anglican men and women who have registered to participate in the Community at various levels of involvement.

Purpose
The Community is being established for Anglicans who (1) seek the Sacred above all else, (2) prefer nothing to Christ, and (3) seek deeper union with Him (who live out their lives as Christians who are indeed aware of that union.)

Method
The Community participants hope to accomplish their communal purpose/reason for being by living their monastic spirituality daily through their vows of:

  1. Daily Prayer,
  2. Reflective Study, and
  3. Personal Service, guided by the motto of the Community, “Following the Shepherd’s Way.”

Levels of Participation
Anglicans can participate in the Community at one of the following levels:

  1. Professed/Vowed – following a period of discernment and formation as a Postulant then Novice.
  2. Oblate – following a period of discernment and formation as a Postulant.
  3. Companion – lives a daily Rhythm/Rule of Life as a “lay monastic”.
  4. Friend – supporter of the Community.

Communication Channels
If you wish to become a part of the Community, or find out more about it, please make contact as follows:

Telephone/WhatsApp/Text: 242-821-5247
Email: goodshepherd.btci@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/community.goodshepherd

Our Anglican Church has a rich heritage with many ways and opportunities of involvement encompassing every area of consciousness.

I commend this monastic/religious opportunity the Community of the Good Shepherd provided.

Pray for it, support it, learn more about it, and consider participating at some level.

Service of Institution and Inauguration A Service of Institution and Inauguration of the Community of The Good Shepherd will be held on Friday, 19th April, 2024, the Friday preceding Good Shepherd Sunday, at St. Agnes Church, Baillou Hill Rd. at 7 p.m.  Please plan to attend.

Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Laish Z. Boyd
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF THE BAHAMAS AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS