‘He took a lot of risks’ - Anglican Church remembers late Bishop Alfred Reid
Retired cleric Alfred Reid, revered for his cultural transformation of Anglican liturgy and for commissioning a reggae Mass, has died.
Reid, the 13th Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday night. He was 82.
Suffragan Bishop of Kingston Robert Thompson, a friend and mentee of his for more than 40 years, told The Gleaner that he cherished his friendship with the bishop.
“The disciples, when they met Jesus, wanted to be with him to follow him. I think that of Bishop Reid – he was good to be with,” he said in affirmation.
Reid was chair of the committee that published the Church in the Province of the West Indies Anglican Hymnal, which includes Jah is My Keeper, composed by Jamaican reggae icon Peter Tosh.
He also commissioned sculptor Christopher Gonzalez to do the crucifix for the newly constructed church in St Jude’s, Stony Hill, which stoked controversy after the artist was given creative licence. Gonzalez is also noted for his infamous Bob Marley sculpture that was ordered removed by the 1980s Seaga administration.
“He took a lot of risks in the early days in order to help the church to embrace the culture that we are living in, so that, for me, was very impressive about him and why I really loved him so, said Thompson.”
Marjorie McGibbon had her first encounter with Reid in 1960 and later served as his administrative assistant from 2001 until his retirement in December 2011.
“His Christian principles led the way,” she said in a soft tone yesterday.
“Bishop Reid was a person who considered everyone important. He was a voice for the voiceless – a strong advocate for opposing injustices. He was a teacher, a friend to many, a brother, a father, and anyone could come to him for help and advice. He had no bone of prejudice in him. He saw each person as deserving of the best,” McGibbon reflected.
Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips also expressed sadness at the news of Reid’s death.
Noting that he was an outstanding bishop, Phillips said: “He was a patriot who believed in the goodness of the Jamaican people, our culture, and our potential.”
Born in Mile Gully, Manchester, to Sidney Reid and Marie Knight-Reid, the retired bishop rose to ecclesiastical heights from the humble job as a clerk at bauxite company Alcan from 1956-58. Educated at St Peter’s College in Jamaica, Reid later pursued clerical duties of a more divine order, moving on to the Episcopal Theological School and Boston College, both in Massachusetts.
Reid, who was conferred with the Order of Jamaica in 2005, was ordained a priest in 1961 and rose from rector of Vere in the late 1960s to being elected diocesan bishop in 2000.
The late bishop is survived by his wife, Gloria; their three children Randall, Annette and Damian; and four grandchildren.