April 2024 Volume 20

On Being Interviewed by Bishop Gibson

Rev. Dr. Barry Davies
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It was during my first few months in Jamaica that I heard that a chapel choir was searching for a permanent director.

Living in Kingston was important to me because that's where most of the “classical” musicians were to be found, Singers or instrument players needed an accompanist. This was good news for me, since working with other musicians had been an important part of my work since leaving grad school with degrees in music and music education.

I learnt that the headmaster of this school with its music director need was, in fact, the Bishop of Jamaica.

Having worked closely with Anglican churches in Britain, I was greatly impressed and humbled. I duly made contact, and was asked to go for an interview with the said bishop; but how does one address a bishop when called for an interview? I only knew, from my work in the U.K. of the title “Lord Bishop”, and that Lord Bishops lived in Palaces. I wanted to be both polite, and “politically correct”.

I duly arrived at the “palace” on Oxford Road, where the bishop lived with his two sisters, and I rang the doorbell, expecting a curate or person of some other minor clerical rank to answer the door. It was opened by none other than the Bishop himself, and I saw no acolytes hovering behind him.

He spoke first, and his words – I will never forget them - were: “You didn't expect to see a Black person as Bishop, did you”.

It wasn't a question!

At some point, I must have used the words “my Lord” in my interview, because I found myself with a job teaching English and developing a concert choir!


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