By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
TRIBUTES have poured in for former Queen’s College principal and president of The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church Reverend Charles Sweeting, who died last week.
In a statement released yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis expressed sadness over the reverend’s death and heralded him as a man of “enormous integrity”.
“Rev Sweeting was an exemplary man of faith, which was evidenced in his commitment to the spiritual, educational and social development of The Bahamas,” Dr Minnis noted.
“It is with gratitude that even as we mourn his passage, we celebrate his legacy and tremendous contributions to national life.”
Queen’s College announced the reverend’s death in a post to its Facebook page on Sunday.
In another post yesterday, Queen’s College remembered the reverend as a “gentle giant”.
“Flags fly at half mast today (Tuesday) at Queen’s College in memory of the late Rev Charles A Sweeting, former principal. His contributions to education, the Methodist Church and this nation have been many. He was a ‘gentle giant’. He has fought a good fight, he has finished the race. Well done, good and faithful servant,” the post read.
More tributes came from Andrea U Gibson, who served as principal of Queen’s College from 1997-2019.
“Rev Sweeting had the distinct honour and privilege not afforded to any other Methodist; that of serving as the head of two of his church schools – St Paul’s College in Freeport, Grand Bahama and Queen’s College in Nassau, and also as president of The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church,” Ms Gibson said in a statement. “As such, he was both progressive, and unafraid, of trailing paths in the history of the two schools and of the newly formed Bahamas Conference.
“I was told that, a few days before his passing, Rev Sweeting shared with one of his visitors how he had, against the odds, taken on the task of growing St Paul’s Methodist College from a primary school to a fully-fledged K-12 school and, in the process, brought about the Bahamianisation of that school.
“In later years, as president of The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church, he took the bold step of installing the first female, and first person of colour, as principal of Queen’s College. Despite the naysayers, Rev Sweeting was confident that the leadership team he had put in place would effectively lead the next phase of Queen’s College’s growth and development.”
She said during his time as QC principal, he worked “to lay a firm foundation that enabled successive leadership teams to build upon the school’s legendary past”.
She noted that Rev Sweeting, a former head boy, teacher, and first Bahamian and alumni principal, was the first person to be inducted into QC’s Hall of Fame in 2003.
He was also the first QC principal to have a landmark on the campus named in his honour in 2014, she said.
“Rev Sweeting’s contributions to his beloved Queen’s College, will long be remembered in the minds and hearts of all whose lives he influenced during his principalship and as chairman of the Queen’s College board of governors. May his soul rest in peace.”
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Philip Davis also released a statement on Rev Sweeting’s death, saying the party was saddened to hear of his passing and expressed condolences.
Mr Davis explained Mr Sweeting was “a nation builder par excellence and his passing brings to an end a significant era in national leadership”.
“He is credited with leading much of the developments of the Methodist Church in The Bahamas while preparing a generation of Bahamians for leadership in practically every sphere of national life.
“We thank him for his stellar and selfless service to this country he clearly loved dearly - especially in the all important areas of education and religion,” Mr Davis said.
Rev Sweeting is survived by his wife, Sheran, his son Andrew and other relatives.