English bishop’s staff handcrafted in Jamaica
For the first time in the centuries-old history of the Church of England, the Bishop of Dover in the Diocese of Canterbury will bear a staff that was lovingly handcrafted in Jamaica.
The Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Jamaican from Montego Bay, will be enthroned on November 19 as the Bishop of Dover, and she will preside over the Diocese of Canterbury on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Hudson-Wilkin is also chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, priest vicar at Westminster Abbey, and chaplain to Queen Elizabeth.
The staff, also called a crozier, is part of the traditional instrument of office of high-ranking bishops, and it implies that the bishop is the shepherd of the flock. It is also a symbol of the pastoral office as is portrayed in “thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” in Psalm 23. The ancient symbolism of the staff is extended further to be a means of restraining wayward sheep.
“Reverend Hudson-Wilkin, who is also the first black woman to be named a bishop in the Church of England, has a deep love for Jamaica, and she very much wanted to have her crozier made in Jamaica by local craftsmen, utilising native Jamaican wood,” Canon Hartley Perrin told The Gleaner.
Perrin is an Anglican minister in Westmoreland and he is also the custos of that parish.
The team of Westmoreland craftsmen, including Alvest Brown, started the unusual assignment with Jamaican blue mahoe.
The brasswork was done by Cheddesingh’s Machine Shop, and the finish was executed by Rowan Pendergrast, a woodworker in Shrewsbury, Westmoreland.
Perrin lent a watchful eye over the creative development of the stylised staff.
The crozier, with a classy, custom-made case, was hand-delivered to the bishop-elect in London a week ago by Canon Calvin McIntyre, a retired minister, and the London-based prelate was thrilled with the final product.
“I am delighted with this crozier! It has really turned out beautifully and it is a work of love,” Hudson-Wilkin said.
She will first use her 5’7” crozier on November 19 at her consecration at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.