Spare a prayer for the Bulgins, bishop pleads
A typical Sunday at the Palmers Cross New Testament Church of God in Clarendon would see brothers Tavaris and Tavaughn flanked by their sisters, or other youth, belting out sweet melodious tunes. On Sunday, however, it was rather doleful tunes and expressions of grief as members tried to fathom the tragedy that befell the brothers who drowned in Martha’s Vineyard in the USA.
Addressing the congregation, Bishop Rhoan Parkins, the family’s spokesman, implored church members to be ready to channel even greater support to the young men’s parents when they return to Jamaica. Reverend Keith Bulgin and his wife Jacqueline left the island last Monday, hours after the heart-wrenching news emerged that their older son, Tavaris, 26, had drowned, and Tavaughn, 21, was missing after jumping from a bridge into the ocean.
“He took his two live sons to the airport and when he’s coming back, it’s either two bags or two boxes. We need to prepare to give him some more [support] because the process starts over when he comes back at the airport in Jamaica. Can you imagine? Mi send weh mi two pickney dem live. Dem kiss mi goodbye, and dem cyaa kiss mi welcome home? Spare a prayer fi them (the parents) please,” implored Parkins while addressing the congregation.
Parkins told The Gleaner that the family is awaiting DNA results to “positively” identify the body of the younger brother, Tavaughn, to move ahead with funeral arrangements. Tavaughn’s body was found last Thursday, three days after that of his brother Tavaris was found.
“The body was found and they are positively identifying it through DNA, so that will take a few days. While they do that, the documentations are being done for the transfer of the bodies from the state to the family and, from there, they will be sent to a funeral home in the States, then to a funeral home in Jamaica. A timeline for that has not yet been fully established because the DNA matchings and groupings have not yet been done,” Parkins told The Gleaner following the church service.
Members say the brothers were decent and well-mannered Christians who lived an exemplary life and left an impressionable mark on everyone they encountered. The brothers were past students of Denbigh High School in the parish. Tavaris had completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Technology, while Tavaughn was pursuing his degree at The University of the West Indies.
“We have certainly understood the feelings that’s running through the community and through the church, so the service had been structured to facilitate a kind of expression of lament and expression of their mourning. We had times of prayer, and times of worship. We want believers to know that it is okay to shed your tears. It is okay to lament. We are suffering a loss, so we are continuing to praise God, but also, underneath that, praising him for the lives that He lent to us,” said Parkins.
Parkins said families have been supporting the Bulgin parents on their very unfortunate and heartbreaking trip to the USA.