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|Bishop Alfred Clement David, the most senior Indigenous Guyanese in the Anglican Church, spoke with Village Voice News about his life and his work. The Reverend Canon Alfred Clement David made history when he was ordained and consecrated as a Bishop in the Church of God at 11:00 am on Tuesday August 24, 2021 at the Cathedral of St. George, Georgetown, Guyana. He serves as Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Guyana and Suriname.
Upon meeting Bishop David, one soon notices the simplicity and humility of the man. His down-to-earth demeanour is quite refreshing considering that he is a high official of one of the largest branches of Christianity, with around 110 million adherents around the world. A conversation with the Man of God reveals another notable trait; unlike many Guyanese, the Bishop never interrupts; he listens attentively and patiently until the other person has finished speaking before he begins to respond. Such traits are to be much admired.
Bishop David humility may have had roots in his modest upbringing. The Bishop was born in the Indigenous village of Kaburi, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and he says that much of who he is today is a result of the values his mother taught him. His mother, he says, is a devout Christian, whose training enabled him to be a good man.
The Bishop’s spiritual journey began in earnest in his early teenage years. The young man, having started to lead worship in his local Church School, was soon noticed by his Parish Priest, Reverend John Dorman who offered him some training. To this day, he credits Reverend Dorman with being the man who changed his life. He says that Reverend Dorman was the mentor and spiritual guide who encouraged him to become a priest because the Reverend “saw something special in the young Alfred David.” When asked what finally motivated him to join the priesthood, Bishop David always answers that, “It was God’s calling.”
Bishop David, now the father of four adult sons, became ordained as a deacon on September 30, 1984, and the following year he became a priest on April 15, 1985, at the St George’s Cathedral in Georgetown. He then returned to his village where he served as part of the Kamarang Parish which comprised five missions referred to as the Potaro Group of Churches. The closest one was 24 miles away from him and the furthest 40 miles away in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni). He served in the Kamarang Parish for 20 years. Following this, he was transferred to St John the Baptist Church in Bartica where he is currently serving.
Before he became Guyana’s first Suffragan Bishop, he said that he had a dream. The priest said that some five years ago, he awoke from sleep knowing that he had experienced a special dream, but he could not remember what exactly he had dreamed, but he knew that in that dream it was revealed to him that he would become a Bishop. He was consecrated as a Bishop in August of last year.
Bishop David, now giving spiritual service for about 37 years, said that there are many events and experiences that have shaped his life. He spoke about the death of his father. Bishop David related that he was holding his father’s hand when his father took his last breath. The Bishop, who seemed to want to speak of this defining event only on his own terms, said that when his father died, he burst into tears. Bishop David said, “But, my tears for my father were of course, tears of grief, but I was also crying because I was happy that my father was at rest and out of the pain he had been suffering for some time.”
On his recent visit to Georgetown during which Bishop David spoke with this publication, he revealed that he had learned during a meeting that morning that he will be serving in the Capital City as well as in the Hinterland. He said that he will now be based in Georgetown. When asked about his family arrangements, Bishop David said that his wife, Yvonne, will join him in Georgetown. The bishop said that although he will need to travel extensively between the Capital City and interior locations, his wife may choose to accompany him on some of his trips. However, he said, his travel schedule may be extremely hectic, and he expects that his wife may not always travel with him.
Bishop Alfred Clement David indicated that three matters are of great concern to him: his family, his parishioners, and his health. He said that the wellbeing of his family is always at the forefront of his thoughts. His parishioners too, are central to his purpose in life. The Bishop said that he must balance his family life with ministering to the needs of his parishioners. He said, though, he must pay attention to staying healthy because he cannot do anything without good health. The Bishop said that even though the demands of his office have now increased he will still maintain a habit that he developed as a young priest.
Every week, the Bishop said, he takes a day off. On that day, he said, he likes to be alone to do something relaxing to refresh himself physically and spiritually. When asked what is next for him, Bishop David said that he plans to make the time to learn the Spanish language so that he can communicate with, and minister to more people. After speaking with this publication, Bishop David picked up his bag, adjusted his face mask and left for Linden where he is scheduled to visit several parishes in Region 10.