Project Canterbury

Silver Jubilee of the Most Reverend Edward Arthur Dunn, D.D.

Consecrated Lord Bishop of British Honduras
August 12th 1917
Enthroned in St. John’s Cathedral, Belize
October 12th 1917
Elected Archbishop of the West Indies
December 4th 1936

No place: no publisher, 1942.

Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2014


The Right Honourable and Most Reverend The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Reverend The Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.
The Most Reverend The Primate of All Canada.
The Most Reverend Archbishop Lord Lang of Lambeth.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Antigua.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Barbados.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Cuba.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Ely.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Haiti.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Jamaica.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Lichfield.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Monmouth.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Nassau.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Newcastle on Tyne.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of New York.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of the Panama Canal Zone.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Quebec.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Trinidad.
The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Washington, D. C.
The Right Reverend Bishop John Dauglish, M. A.
The Right Reverend Bishop J. O. Nash, C. R.
The Right Reverend Bishop Rocksborough Smith, D. D.
The Very Reverend The Dean of Nassau.
The Very Reverend The Dean of Quebec.
His Excellency The Governor of British Honduras.
His Honour The Chief Justice of British Honduras.
H. B. M. Minister in Guatemala.
The Honourable R. E. Turnbull.
The Honourable R. S. Turton.
The Honourable E. W. M. Bowen.
Captain M. S. Metzgen, M. B. E.
Captain D. N. A. Fairweather.
F. W. Biddle, Esq., O. B. E.
F. R. Dragten, Esq., K. C., O. B. E.
H. L. Gabourel, Esq.
B. A. Stuart, Esq.
E. S. Usher, Esq.
E. W. Elwell, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, New York.
Miss Ruth Custis Kitchen, M. A., Philadelphia.
Captain Wilson Smith, Winnipeg.


Sunday October 11th.
Assembly of all Church Organizations for Procession to Memorial Park, 5 P. M.
6 P. M. Solemn Evensong, Sermon and Te Deum in the Open Air.
Preacher: The Lord Archbishop.

Monday October 12th.
Solemn Eucharist and General Communion in St. John's Cathedral, 7 A. M.
Open Reception in the Memorial Park and Presentation of Addresses
to the Lord Archbishop, 5-7 P. M.

Tuesday October 13th.
Grand Supper arranged by the Womens' Auxiliary in St. John's Schoolroom, 7.30 P. M.
Tickets 50 cents.

Wednesday October 14th.
United Young People's Service at St. John's Cathedral, 5.30 P. M.
War Service of Intercession, St. John's Cathedral, 7.30 P. M.

Thursday October 15th.
Service for Men in St. Mary's Church, 7.30 P. M.
Followed by Mens' Smoking Concert in St. Mary's Hall.

Friday October 16th.
United Womens' Service in St. John's Cathedral, 7.30 P. M.

Sunday October 18th.
Thanksgiving Services in both Churches.


[3] TWENTY-FIVE years is a long time in the life of an individual. When that life has been lived in the unremitting service of the Church in one place, it is right and fitting that the members of the Church should give thanks to God for such tireless devotion. Further it is desirable to put the younger members in mind of how the Church in their midst has grown and developed and to remind those of short memory of how much has been accomplished. That is the object of this short brochure.


There had been no resident Bishop for three years, so there was much impatience and anxiety to hear whom the Bishops of the province would elect to the vacant see of British Honduras. In April 1917 came the news that the Reverend Edward Arthur Dunn, M. A., Rector of Saint Michael's, Quebec, had been elected Bishop. The new Bishop had been Domestic Chaplain to his father, the Bishop of Quebec, and also at various times Professor of Pastoral Theology and of Mathematics in Bishops University, Lennoxville. He was a well-known figure in the Church life of Eastern Canada.

There was considerable delay in arranging the practical details of consecration; travel in the West Indies not being as expeditious then as it has become since, with Air Services. The Bishop-Elect and Mrs. Dunn made a fruitless journey to British Guiana, afterwards being compelled to retrace their steps to Barbados, where on the 12th August 1917 the new Bishop of British Honduras was consecrated by Archbishop Parry, assisted by the Bishops of Nassau, Jamaica and Antigua in St. Michael's Cathedral. A circuitous journey from Barbados via New York and Jamaica brought the Bishop to his Diocese by October 6th. On a stormy Saturday night he and Mrs. Dunn arrived unannounced in Belize. They were soon given a warm welcome by Archdeacon Murray who had held the affairs of the Diocese in his experienced hands during the three years when there had been no Bishop. Bishop Dunn made his first Act of Communion in his Diocese in Saint Mary's Church on Sunday morning October 7th. At this period of time it is of interest [3/4] to note that Archdeacon Murray relaxed the iron rule that prevailed in Saint Mary's Church whereby the men communicate first and then the women, so as to enable the Bishop and his wife to kneel together at the Holy Eucharist. On the following Saturday afternoon, October 12th, he was enthroned in Saint John's Cathedral and entered upon that work that was to extend over a quarter of a century.


The Bishop has often told of the complete lack of records in existence when he came to the Diocese. He found "only one half sheet of note paper" handed down to him from his predecessors to guide him. Consequently he had to build up a complete new machinery and organization. He set to work at once, but before setting up machinery, he needed to get in touch with his people and the workers in the Missions. There were only thirteen clergy at this time in the whole of Central America. Owing to the vast distances it was many months before the Bishop could meet all his clergy. Records show that within a month of his enthronement, he began his travels in the Colony. He went first to Stann Creek then to El Cayo and back, visiting stations on the Belize River. Corozal and Orange Walk were also visited. January found him in Honduras Republic and Guatemala, and later in the year he visited the South of the Diocese for the first time. Those who are not familiar with the geography of the Diocese should know that the Caribbean seaboard of Central America extends for nearly 1,000 miles, and that to get from the North to the South of the Diocese a journey to one of the Gulf Ports of the United States is generally involved. Shorter journeys can be made by uncomfortable little boats that go at most irregular intervals. It is not unusual for the Bishop to have to wait around in a small port for a week, daily encouraging a captain to get together his cargo of cattle so that the journey may begin. In later days the airplane has opened up remote places in Central America so a journey that used to take a week by river can now be made in an hour or so. The fast Airmails thus inaugurated have made a great difference to the work of Diocesan organization. But in 1917 letters from the Bishop to his clergy took many weeks to reach them.


[5] It was fortunate for the Diocese that the new Bishop was such a first-class businessman. It was no use setting a Diocesan engine running unless there was provided the fuel for maintaining the running power. The new Bishop set to work to raise money in England, Canada and the United States of America by forming his friends and supporters into the Honduras Church Association. He has always taken a long view of Diocesan finance. The work of the Church could never have any permanent stability unless it could have a regular income. So, at the beginning, emphasis was laid on the need for Endowment--first of all the Endowment of the See, and then Parishes were encouraged to raise Endowments for themselves. The Million Shilling Fund was launched in 1922. About $1,000.00 a year now comes in interest from the capital so far subscribed. Bishop Dunn has always believed that Church people should be taught the duty and joy of giving. When Missions have applied for help for a particular purpose, the reply has invariably been that anything that the people raise would be added to or doubled by the Diocese. When the Bishop first came, Clergy were given a small grant from the Diocese of perhaps $400.00 a year and told to raise the rest as best they might locally. Some did well. Others fared badly. For neither was there any sense of security. Clergy now get a much larger grant from the Diocese, (though it is small enough in all conscience,) but they are not left completely to the mercies of their penurious parishioners.

It is sad to have to recall how much of the Bishop's time has had to be taken up with the raising of money. His keen financial sense has led him to exercise personally the closest supervision of all Diocesan expenditure. But the Diocese may well be thankful to-day for the stronger condition of its material life and place on record its gratitude for the unflagging long-term policy of a very wise and gifted financial administrator. There are few, if any, Bishops who could have done so much out of so little. It is right also to record that the Bishop's own personal generosity and austere personal spending are an example for all to follow who love and believe in the Church.

[6] During the long Episcopate, by wise foresight, the Diocese has acquired property on which many Churches and Schools have been erected. It is not possible to name all the Churches and Schools that have been built during this period, but Saint Hilda's and Saint Michael's Colleges in Belize are good examples of permanent buildings erected during this period. The Church of the Holy Spirit, Tela, and Saint George's, Almirante, Panama, show how dignity and beauty can be obtained in buildings made entirely of wood. The hurricane that swept British Honduras in 1931 added very much to the task of building. So many of the Churches and Schools of the Colony have had to be entirely rebuilt since 1931, notably the buildings of Saint Mary's Parish, Belize. Titanic courage must be one of the characteristics of a Bishop in the Caribbean area, because nature herself seems to conspire against any very notable progress being made. The Bishop was contemplating retirement in 1931, but the disastrous hurricane was the direct reason that brought him back to rebuild and repair, to encourage and to lay fresh foundations for the work of the Church in British Honduras that had sustained so serious a set-back. It was the self-effacing encouragement of Mrs. Dunn who by 1931 had become an invalid, no longer able to live in the Diocese, that decided the Bishop to come back and rebuild all that had been laid low.

The Diocese now owns an adequate Episcopal House in Belize. It is hoped that the small debt on it of less than $500.00 may be paid off this Jubilee year, so that the Bishop can have the happiness of blessing the house that has for so long been his home.


Although the Bishop has proved himself so able a financier and administrator, he has always been able to show himself to his people as their Chief Shepherd. The man of affairs is quickly merged in the spiritual father. Many have commented on his tenderness in dealing with individuals in their spiritual and moral troubles. Often people have come with little personal quarrels which have been resolved and then they have found themselves kneeling with their Father in God in the little Chapel of St. Clement at Bishopthorpe. He has taken infinite trouble in dealing with the difficulties of the poorer members of his flock. [6/7] His Confirmation addresses have been marked by deep earnestness and clear teaching on the faith of the Church.

Very early in his Episcopate he instituted a Daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Cathedral. Hardly a day passes (except when he is travelling) when he does not begin the day by pleading the Holy Sacrifice for his people either in the Cathedral or St. Clement's Chapel. A regular rota of intercession for each Church and Mission throughout the Diocese is worked through each week. The Blessed Sacrament is perpetually reserved for the sick in the Bishop's Chapel.

From the first the Bishop interested himself in raising the standards of worship throughout the Diocese. Ceremonial was modelled on a simplification of the English Rite. Dignity and reality are the notes of each service at which he officiates. The Eucharistic Vestments are worn in every Church of the Diocese. In a Missionary Diocese there is real value in something approaching uniformity of ceremonial in every Church.

Bishop Dunn came to the Diocese in the middle of the First World War. He speedily gathered the Church people of Belize together every Wednesday night in the Cathedral for prayer and intercessions. In the Second World War he still finds himself at work in Belize, and once again he has rallied the faithful to what has become known as "The War Service". People of all classes attend this service, seldom less than 200 in number, and often many more. It may well prove that the most valuable contribution to the War Effort of the Colony has been the regular gathering together of the faithful to learn of the issues at stake, of the threat to Christian freedom, and of the Church's part always to bear before God in Intercession the needs of the War sufferers and the lives of those who have gone forth from the Colony and Diocese.


An Episcopate of 25 years in the Anglican Communion inevitably gave Bishop Dunn the introduction to many of his Brother Bishops throughout the Church. Membership of the two Lambeth Conferences of 1920 and 1930 brought him many friends amongst Bishops in all parts of the world. He was chosen to serve on the [7/8] Continuation Committee of the Lambeth Conference. He also became a Member of the Conference on Faith and Order, and has attended many of their summer meetings in Switzerland. The cause of Church Unity has always been dear to his heart. In these ways he has been able to give expression to the words in the service of the Consecration of Bishops "Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God"--an office that carries with it responsibilities and duties far beyond the care of the Diocese itself.

In 1936 a Provincial Synod of the West Indies was held for the first time in Belize. After the Bishops had consecrated Archdeacon Tonks as Bishop of the Windward Islands, they proceeded to the election of an Archbishop in succession to Archbishop Hutson of Antigua. Their choice fell upon Bishop Dunn. So to an already overworked Bishop there came the call to add to his labours the work of the Primate of the West Indies. British Honduras thus became for a time the Archiepiscopal See. It has been a great disappointment to the Archbishop that since his election he has not been able to preside over a Synod of the whole Province. But the War has disrupted communications in the West Indies, and the Bishops have felt it their duty to remain in their Dioceses in War time. The Archbishop has however seen the Provincial Appeal Fund for £10,000 for the Dioceses, almost completed. His Primacy will be remembered for this fact and also for his very earnest endeavours to bring a more corporate spirit to a Province of very scattered Dioceses.

Archbishop Dunn for 25 years has served the Church of Christ faithfully in the Apostolic office. He has never spared himself, but given unremittingly of his intellectual gifts and physical energies. The Diocese is determined that the work begun shall be sustained, and is anxious to use the occasion of his Jubilee to ensure its perpetuation and to bring joy to the heart of their Father in God who has laboured so abundantly for Christ's Church. His long years of service in the Episcopate bear witness to the truth of some words of Archbishop Tait of Canterbury quoted in a Latin Sermon at Oxford "We claim for ourselves, not the honours of the Apostles, but their labours".

Chancellor F. R. Dragten, K. C., O. B. E.
The Right Reverend Bishop D. J. Wilson, M. A.
(Archdeacon in Central America)
Captain W. H. Kieffer.
G. A. St. J. Robinson, Esq.
(Hon. Treasurer)
The Venerable R. A. F. Pratt, M. A.
(Archdeacon of Belize)
R. L. Heitler, Esq.
The Reverend G. Rodwell Hulse, M. A.
(Hon. Secretary)

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