By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
FORMER defendants in the Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries case said the recent ruling of Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder, which was favourable to them, is still not being followed, more than a month after the judgement was handed down.
In 2020, Archbishop Ros Davis announced he had appointed his son, Trent Davis, as new senior pastor of the Carmichael Road church.
Several church members who were executive committee members reversed that decision through a resolution and elected Pastor Alan Strachan, acting president of the church.
Archbishop Davis and other members of the executive committee subsequently took the matter to court. Last month, Justice Winder ruled it is up to members of the church to choose the make-up of the church council, which would in turn elect the executive committee that manages the church.
However, yesterday Archbishop Davis released a statement disclosing a meeting has been called for the discussion of the election process.
During a press conference yesterday, Pastor Strachan said: “We want to be very clear, the pastors wish that the court’s recommendation – that the church vote to select the executive council – be followed. And from all indications, the Davis family do not want the correct process to be followed and are still disregarding the decision of the court as handed down by the Hon. Justice Ian Winder.”
“The court noted and advised that Pastor Trent was not properly installed as bishop, did not and still does not have the power/authority to appoint his son. The court deemed his appointment invalid. This, in fact, is what led to the total breakdown between the Davis family and the board of pastors.”
Pastor Strachan said he and others have written to Bishop Davis and called him several times to request a meeting, first with the pastors and then with the church membership to “correct the wrongs and position the church for unification.”
He claimed Bishop Davis has not responded to their outreach.
“Pastors and members are still locked out of the church and are not permitted to participate in the activities of the church,” Pastor Strachan said.
“The pastors are determined to see this process to its completion and the church set in order. On this Friday evening, the pastors will lead a meeting with the members and will update all with the facts as it relates to what transpired, the present position and forward movement of the church.”
Pastor Strachan said nothing about the debacle has been easy for the pastors.
“This has not been easy for any of the pastors,” he said. “And this was probably some of the first time that we have ever been in a court setting, and to know that it takes going to the court for vindication. But we did not gloat about the whole aspect of the court ruling and all that because I think it was out for all to read for themselves.”
Yesterday afternoon, Archbishop Davis released a statement acknowledging Justice Winder’s ruling, adding that notice was given to the surviving subscribers of the church that a meeting would be held to discuss the election process.
The statement did not mention when the meeting was called or whether all stakeholders were notified.
Archbishop Davis also pledged to make public the outcome of the meeting.
“We have taken advice from Mr Damian Gomez, QC, following the ruling and order of the Hon. Justice Winder delivered on October 8, 2021,” the press statement said. “The advice given closely reflects the ruling of the Supreme Court of the Bahamas and the Articles of Association of the non-profit company called the Golden Gates Assembly and World Outreach Ministries.
“We have been advised that the only members of the said non-profit company are the surviving subscribers, namely Commissioner Paul Rolle, Rev Dr Mary E Nairn, Attorney Anginette Pyfrom, Pastor Althea Davis and yours truly (Archbishop Ros L Davis).
“Upon that advice, we have called a meeting of the said members and have issued the requisite notice for such a meeting.
“The agenda of that meeting is set out in the notice and includes the following: Discussion and Election process of Executive Council and Committee members and charting the way forward. We urge the members of the church to read the ruling of Justice Winder and to conform with the law, in order that we may move forward in an orderly fashion.
“Following the general meeting of the non-profit company, we will disclose the results of that meeting to the entire membership of the church body.”
Recognizing that the process has been long and hard, Archbishop Davis said all were anxious to put this chapter behind them.
“We intend at our earliest opportunity to meet with the entire church body to formulate a representative church constitution that will further regularise our church, but in the absence of such, we must proceed in this manner.
“In the meantime, the membership of the church ought to resist the temptation of disruptive behaviour which only serves to bring our ministry into further disrepute.
“Now that the ruling has been given, I look forward to our reinstitution of Holy Communion beginning Sunday, December 5, 2021 at a special service of Healing at 6pm.
“I firmly believe that with God and a collective mind to work for His Kingdom, we can and we will put this era behind us and continue on to greatness as is God’s purposed intention for us as a community of faith.”