- Faith & Family
The Reverend Richard Livingston Marquess-Barry has a tight deadline to meet. In less than 11 months, the rector of the Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Overtown plans to raise $50,000 for the United Negro College Fund before he officially retires on Dec. 1st.
When asked why this will be his final major project, Barry explained the belief that has been the foundation for his entire ministerial career.
“The ministry of Jesus Christ is about lifting up the dispossessd and the cast aways,” he said.
Although the guidelines of the Episcopal church say that all ministers are to retire by the time they are 72, Barry also feels that, personally, 2012 was the right time for him to step down from the pulpit.
“I feel that I am slowing down and that it is time for me to do something else with myself,” he explained. Besides, “the time comes when you need to sit down to permit a younger man with a different vision to carry the congregation to a new height, a new level.”
Barry’s successor is the Reverend Father Denrick Ephriam Rolle.
Since he was installed as rector at the Overtown church in 1977, Barry also brought a new vision to St. Agnes Episcopal Church. Some of his accomplishments include the church’s successful outreach efforts to the often ailing neighborhoods of Miami by providing Thanksgiving meals, assisting those suffering from AIDS, and building affordable homes in Overtown.
“I was most proud of turning the congregation out into the community,” he said. “Making the congregation not only understand, but live out the truth that we are our brother’s keeper. We must be concerned with what happens to [each other].”
While’s Barry compassion for his fellow man can be attributed to his faith, his self-confidence and self-love were values his mother and grandmother instilled in him as a youth.
He fondly quoted his grandmother who often told him: “It’s better to be hated for who you is, then to be loved for who you ain’t.”
Those qualities are also why he has never felt envious of other people, much less fellow pastors, according to Barry.
“The only person I am in competition with is myself to be all that God has called me to be in His grace,” he explained.
Once he officially steps down Barry looks forward to spending time with his wife, as well as continuing to serve the community by volunteering for the church’s Community Development Corporation.
And although he has been a priest for more than four decades, the retiring priest feels no loss of identity knowing that he will no longer hold the title of rector by year’s end.
He explained his tranquility by saying, “Once you are a priest you are always a priest. I will shed the care of the congregation but I will still be a priest.”
By Kaila Heard