Sat | Sep 23, 2023

Bishop Robert Thompson is dead

Published:Saturday | February 11, 2023 | 1:17 AMSashana Small/Staff Reporter
Bishop Thompson
Bishop Thompson

Retired Anglican Bishop of Kingston, The Rt Rev Robert Thompson died on Friday at the Nuttall Memorial Hospital in Kingston after a long battle with cancer.

He was 74 years old.

The bishop, who forged a legacy in service to humanity during his 47 years as an ordained minister, retired in 2020. He is remembered as a passionate and generous individual who championed the transformative duty of the church in society.

“Bishop Thompson is remembered across the diocese as a strong, decisive, no-nonsense leader who, though impatient and brutally honest at times, was an extremely caring and compassionate clergyman who nurtured many persons to faith, and who subsequently became members of his extended family,” Reverend Howard K.A. Gregory, Archbishop of the West Indies, Primate and Metropolitan, and The Bishop of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands, said in a statement.

Former lawmaker Reverend Ronald Thwaites described Bishop Thompson as a scholar, “who wrote a book on the social teachings of the Christian church from an Anglican perspective but with broad relevance to all of us who are trying to be faithful to Jesus’ message”.

Thwaites said he shared a deep respect for the late bishop.

“I admired his ministry throughout his career … . His understanding of the Jamaican situation, his identification with those who were most vulnerable in the society, and his giving of himself to minister to them has been a blessing,” he said.

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kingston, and President of the Jamaica Council of Churches, Kenneth Richards, expressed his condolences to Bishop Thompson’s family.

“The work that he has done in the church and indeed the nation will be rewarded by persons building on the legacy – his life was one that was well lived,” he said.

The Anglican bishop was the son of former Westmoreland Member of Parliament James ‘Jim’ Thompson who grew up in the St James Grange Anglican Church in the quiet district of Glen Islay in Westmoreland.

From a young age, he expressed interest in becoming a priest, but after leaving Jamaica College, he secured a job at Barclays Bank (now National Commercial Bank). This lasted only two years, as having been convinced of the calling upon his life, he later enrolled as a student at the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI) and was ordained a deacon on June 29, 1973. His ordination to the priesthood followed in 1974.

He also studied at McGill University in Canada, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University, and the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he earned his doctorate.

Bishop Thompson served as rector of the St Andrew Parish Church for 15 years. Prior to this appointment, he served 10 years as rector at St Jude’s Church in Stony Hill, St Andrew.