Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Outspoken Anglican Bishop Neville deSouza is dead

Published:Sunday | December 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM
The Rt Reverend Neville Wordsworth deSouza in the 1973 photo.

The Rt Reverend Neville Wordsworth deSouza, the 12th Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, passed on at mid-morning yesterday at his home in Mandeville, where he resided subsequent to his retirement in 2000.

Bishop deSouza, who was born in Jackson Town, Trelawny, in 1928, was noted not only for his mission in the Diocese which he headed but for his ecumenical service which led him to election to leadership positions in other denominations and organisations locally and overseas.

He was elected Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay in 1973 and Lord Bishop in 1979. He served not only his own denomination, but was chairman of the Caribbean Conference of Churches 1972-81.

Bishop deSouza also served as an executive member of the Jamaica Council of Churches and a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.

He was also a representative on the Metropolitan Council of the Episcopal Church of Cuba.

Bishop deSouza was educated at St Peter's Theological College, an Anglican institution, as well as Columbia Theological College and Chandler School of Theology. Noted for his outspokenness in addressing social issues of the day in the explosive era of the 1970s, he did not hesitate to speak in the name of the Gospel.

He did not flinch from criticism and stood up for what he believed. One of his most noted responses to many of his sermons came on April 28, 2000, when he addressed the 130th Synod of the Anglican Diocese.

"I was called a Communist. It didn't matter what they called me because I know that justice is a Christian virtue, and as long as I've seen what you call me, that's all right."

Bishop deSouza is survived by his wife Iona, a son, two daughters and their children.