It has been reported that in a matter of days Bishop Randolph George will be demitting office. Ever since the story of his pending departure broke, my interest in the attainment of the status of bishop was rekindled. News about Bishop George’s retirement was first reported in the Kaieteur News of November 11, 2008.
Some time ago, I enquired about the process which had to be gone through before someone could become a bishop, and even though I did not obtain a satisfactory answer, I observed that someone outside the Anglican and Catholic fold went on to become an archbishop in Guyana.
That caused me to become even more curious and ask how someone became an archbishop? For some time I was worried, but I eventually abandoned my enquiry until the story of Bishop George’s retirement appeared in the KN.
In that story it was reported that, “He was elected Bishop of Stabroek in 1976, and he would later succeed Archbishop Alan John Knight in 1980.” That statement really confused me because I was led to believe that if Bishop George succeeded Archbishop Alan John Knight, then Bishop George should have become Archbishop, but that was never the case. Hence, I was forced to ask the question how a bishop becomes an archbishop?
I subsequently learnt that Kaieteur News failed to accurately report on the matter. The fact of the matter is that Alan John Knight was the Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of Guyana, and Bishop George succeeded him as Bishop of Guyana and not as Archbishop of the West Indies.
I subsequently learnt also that the process of becoming the Archbishop of the West Indies is quite an elaborate one, ending with the bishops of the individual territories electing him.
As far as I am aware the current Archbishop of the West Indies is Drexel Gomes, who is also Bishop of Nassau and the Bahamas. Like Bishop George, he too will be demitting office this month.
And a new Archbishop of the West Indies will have to be elected or, perhaps the bishop who recently became bishop in Guyana should be automatically appointed Archbishop of the West Indies.
Bishop George will definitely be remembered for the many positive ways in which he has touched the lives of members of his congregations, but I will remember him most for the firm and irrevocable stance he took against an indisciplined priest who accepted a political appointment without consulting him, let alone securing his permission.
We will surely miss him. May God bless him in retirement, as he blessed him in active service. He has certainly caused us to remember the words of Apostle Paul who at 2nd Timothy 4:7 said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, and I have kept the faith.”