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Cayman: Visiting Anglican bishop holds”Life of Faith and Belief,” seminar 

Left to Right, The Rt.Rev.Dr. Kevin Donlon is an Apostolic Prefect of the Anglican Union, Tampa, USA and the Rt. Rev.Dr.P.J Lawrence 

By Christopher Tobutt 

Living faith and belief in contemporary society was the topic under discussion at a recent Zoom! seminar presented by the Rt. Rev. Kevin Donlon and put on by the Centre for Theological Leadership and Training (CTLT). . The Rt.Rev.Dr. Kevin Donlon is an Apostolic Prefect of the Anglican Union, Tampa, USA  and he recently visited the Cayman Islands where he attended St. Alban’s Church. 

The CTLT a Cayman-based bible school focussed on preparing people for ministry and Christian service. It operates online, providing fully-accredited certificate, diploma, bachelors, masters and doctorate-level programmes to students here, and in several other countries too online, including Jamaica, India, the USA and the Philippines. The seminar was part of CTLT’s ongoing aim to enriich regular academic courses with cutting-edge  disciussions on the unfolding dyanamic between faith, theology, and society. 

Director of the Center for Theological Leadership Training, Cayman Islands, Rt.Rev.Dr.P.J Lawrence welcomed everyone online, while introducing Bishop Kevin: “We have about 100 such churches in South India with whom we are affiliated through Bishop Kevin’s Anglican Union. .We are happy that we have a partnership between CTLT and the Anglican Union,” he said.  

Dr. Donlon began his presentation by discussing the differences of belief and faith in a largely secular, ‘post-church,’ culture, where everyone has their own set of beliefs and things that they hold sacred,  Bishop Kevin gave an example of  talking to a woman on a plane who loved the colour of his ecclesiastical shirt, and wanted to know where she could purchase one for her son, despite being told that they were solely used to identify eccelsiastical rank. It was the sort of discussion we would be having much more often, in a consumer and image-driven world, Bishop Kevin warned, where established transendental belief and faith had taken second place to the kind of instantaneous and superficial designer-spirituality that belongs to the new culture of instagram videos 

“Some people have a belief system that deviates completely from religion, but they make the journey. Other people have their own religious stories and their own stories of the sacred. They determine what’s sacred. So there’s no common way forward on the journey as there was when Christendom came into being,” Bishop Kevin said. . 

Bishop Kevin contrasted his own faith-walk, an experience of being brought up in Anglican and Catholic educational establishments ever since being baptised as an infant, with the modern world where people were often unchurched and had no real faith in God at all. Their belief was a pick-and-mix approach, he said, with everybody finding their own path to truth. “They’ll say to you, ‘I turn to what I believe is true,’  and so what they’re saying is to you that my belief is in an intellectual assent to an idea; it could be an idea about God, it could be an idea about human beings. Scientology has a belief system. It has nothing to do with the Almighty and nothing to do with God, but it has to do with a series of propositions that they assert are true.  Belief is basically a body of knowledge based on a high degree of evidence that someone gives assent to,” he said. 

But faith was much more than mental or intellectual assent, Dr. Donlan said. It was one thing to adhere to a belief-system, illustrated by reciting a traditional church creed. It was another thing to let yoru belief change your life completely, to the point of staking our life on it, as the saints and martyrs of the past had done. “Faith is a verb,” Dr. Donlan said. It represented a dynamic force with the potential to change the individual, the church, and society once again as it had done in the past. 

After he finished his presentation, Bishop Kevin opened the floor to questions, leading to a lively discussion about the dynamic between belief, faith and contemporary society. 


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