Priest has no regrets leaving marijuana-bearing mourners
An Anglican cleric, who has become embroiled in controversy centred on an incident that occurred at a burial site of a murder victim, has called for residents to take a stand against the wrongs in society
Reverend Davidson Bowen of St Philip The Less Anglican Church said he was “disgusted” by the lack of respect displayed as the final rites were being performed for Gregory Ainsley Bishop, 33, of Boscobel, St Peter, who was fatally shot at Douglin Road, Weston late last month.
“I looked out in the church yard and there are all of these young men who just seem lost. The funeral service is going on and they’re outside smoking and drinking and that sort of stuff. This is not the place for that. If you want to drink and smoke and so forth I can’t necessarily stop you from doing that; that’s your own choice but I find, as it relates to church, there is a lack of respect,” he said.
Reverend Bowen, whose sermon on Sunday focused on what transpired at the funeral last week Thursday, later recounted the incident to Barbados TODAY.
“We get to the gravesite and before the body is committed they place the casket on the belts before it is lowered into the grave [but] before anything is done this youngster is there scattering what appears to be marijuana in the grave. I asked him what he [was] doing. I told him it was foolishness, “get out from in front of me you’re doing foolishness”. So he moves, he goes to a side. I commit the body and he then comes up with two others flanked on either side staring me down, again dropping marijuana in the grave so I asked him if it made any sense. I asked “which part of the service is this?” the clergyman recalled.
He expressed disappointment and disgust that the adults present did nothing, stating “everybody is like in a trance because nobody can say ‘this is wrong”.
Fed up with the situation, the reverend said he closed his prayer book and left.
Reverend Bowen was clear that he did nothing wrong and was not backing down from his actions.
He said claims that mourners were left hanging were untrue, since he had finished performing the service.
“My part of the service was finished, the only left to do would have been to cover the casket . . . and say to the choir [sing] Amazing Grace or the hymn and the choir would sing. The funeral service was finished at that point. Some priests stay, some don’t, so to say that I didn’t finish the job [is not true],” he insisted.
“The job was done and the amazing thing is that you had some persons who were doing wrong, something illegal and we condone that and because I took a stand I’m wrong. I don’t see that as wrong. If I had to do it all over again, the only thing I would do differently is the server that I left there, I would have told him to come as well.”
There were reports that several of the mourners pointed gun fingers at the priest as he was departing, but Reverend was adamant he was not backing down.
“That don’t scare me,” he said resolutely, adding that he heard loud explosions on his way out.
“I can’t say they were gunshots [but] there were loud explosions and there were persons who seemed to enjoy this. You had grown people laughing and saying ‘that’s a big one.”
He added, “We’re constantly talking about what kind or world we are leaving for our children but I think we need to consider what kind of children we’re leaving for the world because we had young ladies there [wearing] next to nothing, all sort of strange fashions with everything exposed and stuff like that. We had persons there in tights and close fitting shirts and that sort of stuff.”