By: Ruth Sharpe
REVEREND HAYNES Hubbard arrived in the Algarve on the weekend of May 5 with a mission to help heal the rift in the Anglican Church in the Algarve. No one could have expected that his first role would be to help a community in crisis deal with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
With the eyes of the international media firmly placed on the small town of Praia da Luz, the church has become a focal point and a centre for the community to come together and particularly for Gerry and Kate McCann to remain positive that their daughter will be returned safely.
The disappearance of Madeleine has highlighted that there are more important things than the current division in the Algarve Anglican community. The church has been a place to eradicate any exhaustion and despair the community has been feeling since May 3.
“The services we have held since Madeleine’s disappearance have been powerful and uplifting. I gain strength from seeing the McCanns’ smiling in the front row and by coming together we uphold a determined hope,” said Mr Hubbard.
Mr Hubbard’s new official position is the senior chaplain for the whole of the Algarve, incorporating the three congregations at Praia da Luz, Almancil and Santa Bárbara de Nexe (St. Vincent’s).
After a year long period without a full time chaplain, Mr Hubbard has arrived with a clear mandate: to make people let go of the past and change the language being exchanged among the Algarve congregations.
He is beginning his work in tragic circumstances but believes that it has created an opportunity for unity among the congregation and hopes that it can reach out and support the whole community. “It is also an opportunity to share and deepen our relationship with the Catholic Church,” he said.
“We need unity and positive thoughts to progress. The church is a place to worship and grow. We are starting a new chapter and we must show that we are progressive. Through effort, hard work, prayer and humility, things can be improved,” he said.
Mr Hubbard is looking forward to the challenge ahead with regards to uniting the Anglican Church in the Algarve and feels he has been extremely welcomed by the community. He affirmed that he will be on hand to offer support to the McCanns and the community throughout this difficult time.
“Everyone is frightened but this is a divine moment that God has called us all to. It is times of crisis when God can help us the most,” he said.
The Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Dr Geoff Rowell will be at the Institution and Induction of St. Vincent’s new chaplain, Reverend Haynes Hubbard tomorrow (May 19), at Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church in Almancil.