His Grace Archbishop Ivan Nicholas Lancaster of the West Indian United Spiritual Baptist Sacred Order Inc (WIUSBSO) has died at age 92.
Members of the faith have had three services, as acts of mourning, leading up to his funeral tomorrow, 10 am, at Palms Club, San Fernando, official Joseph Bridgewater said yesterday. Bridgewater said ordained ministers will wear their full ministerial attire for the final service.
The first service was held on Friday at St Peter’s Vistabella Church, the second was held yesterday at Mount Paran, La Romaine and the final one takes place today at St Paul’s Spiritual Baptist Church, Point Fortin, which Lancaster constructed.
Lancaster died on June 8. He was the husband of Superior Mother Rhona Lancaster, father of three and grandfather of five.
Bridgewater recalled that Lancaster, as one of three children, had a dream of becoming a lawyer but that dream was shattered when he lost his father at an early age. He instead went on to learn joinery which was a good choice as he went on to become a successful entrepreneur, establishing three furniture stores at Cocoyea, Marabella and Fyzabad.
At an early age, he gave his life to God and remained a Spiritual Baptist for over 60 years.
In March 1965, he graduated with a diploma in theology from the St Andrew’s College of Tottenham, London and two years later, in 1967, was promoted from a reverend minister to an archdeacon.
He served in Point Fortin at the Ethiopian Spiritual Baptist Church and then constructed his own church, St Paul’s, at Cap-de-Ville, Point Fortin.
He also made a significant contribution to St Peter’s Spiritual Baptist Church at Lambie Street, Vistabella.
In 1987, he was consecrated as Archbishop of the WIUSBSO with 63 churches in TT, the Caribbean and the US.
He is also a past president of the National Congress of Spiritual Baptist churches from 1990-1996. Lancaster was granted by the Baptist Faith Inc, the honourable title of Jurisdictional Patriarch of TT on September 13, 2008, at the St Leonard African Orthodox Church, Brooklyn, New York,
“Even though he holds the title of archbishop and patriarch, he was a true servant of the people. His humility and selflessness stood out. He was quite approachable and despite his advance age still found time to counsel and pray with members as his remedy and solution to any situation was prayer,” Bridgewater recalled.
He remembered him as “a minister, a husband, a friend, a father and a true man of God.”