Parish Annual Report

December 2019

Dear Friends

As I sit down to write this Newsletter, yet another church year on St Barts draws to a close. And at the same time, the island’s new season has started … and this year it is expected to be a BIG year following the island’s near full recovery from the effects of Hurricane Irma, now two year’s since. 

It’s been a very active year for both the church and the island. The recovery after Irma has been remarkable across the island, and not least as seen in the Brook Lacour Garden. We celebrated its opening with a Garden Party which raised over €6,000.  I do hope you will all be able to sit down in it and enjoy the newly created ambience.

As you may know, the Vestry, with the approval of the Bishop, decided to look at appointing a full-time priest for the church.  This process has proved more difficult than we first thought, so we are taking more to time to put together a full parish profile, whilst reviewing all our options. 

The Vestry continues to give me great support, along with Alex Harbord, our treasurer, and the church wardens.  We also have the full support in all we do from our Bishop, The Rt Revd Errol Brooks, and our Parish Priest, who is based in St Martin, Archdeacon Terrence Rawlins.

The Church is also wonderfully supported by its visiting clergy program and I’d like to take this opportunity of thanking all of them for all that they do for us.  You will be meeting them again, and a number of new priests, during the course of this year. The only sad piece of news on this topic is that after 20 visits, Father John Rice informed us that he and Mackie will not be returning for 2020.  We gave them a good send off with a garden party after the service on their last Sunday.

From a spiritual perspective, the church continues to grow the presence of the Anglican Church for both the English and French communities who live on St Barts, as well as visitors to the island.  During the year, we celebrated a record 14 Weddings or Renewals of Vows, as well as 3 baptisms. Mass or Morning Prayer was celebrated in the church over 50 times during the year, with total numbers for the church services of over 3,500 people. 

What I personally continue to find enormously exciting and fulfilling is that St Bartholomew’s is a church where we celebrate the richness of our diversity.  People from so many different cultures, colours, life experiences and backgrounds come through our doors. And most importantly, they all feel welcome. 

We are now holding a short service of Taizé songs combined with moments of silence on Tuesday evenings – for those of you who have not experienced Taizé music, it is a wonderful contemplative and gentle twenty-five minutes, that many people find helpful for their spiritual journey. This year the spirituality group changed to be a bible study group, looking at the readings for the upcoming Sunday on Friday morning, and breakfast is served too.  The meditation group continues to meet at 7pm on Thursday evenings, held in both French and English.  It is led by Diana Bourel and it is a wonderful resource for those wishing to explore their spiritual centre.

As always, we would like to thank everybody who gives so generously to the church here. We are entirely dependent on giving by our congregation and members of the church.  We are very fortunate in having an extremely well-developed structure for financial giving – under the auspices of either the local church and its treasurer or our dedicated US charitable body “Friends of St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church”.  This is extremely efficiently run by the board of trustees chaired by Bill Barrett and we are so grateful to them for all the hard work that they do for us. 

On a personal note, this year also bought significant upheaval in my own life as my elderly mother developed significant health issues, including a broken hip and a diagnosis of cancer; which necessitated me spending much more time in the UK than anticipated.  I am glad to report that she is feeling strong, and she is being well looked after having recently entered a care home.

All of us at St Bartholomew’s are looking forward to seeing you when you are next on island and we thank you again for all your support.  And as the festive season approaches, we wish you all a very Happy and Merry Christmas.

With blessings

Philip Trangmar, Parish Administrator