After much prayer and preparation (and inoculations), here I am, in Barbados as an exchange student at Codrington College. Codrington is on the Atlantic coast in the parish of St. John's and is the oldest Anglican seminary in the Western Hemisphere; it was built in 1745. Its grounds are expansive, beautiful and attract many tourists.
Life here in seminary is Anglo-Catholic and monastic in nature. We gather for worship in the chapel four times a day, at 7:00 a.m. for Matins and Eucharist, at noon for meditation and prayer, at 3:00 p.m. for Evensong and at 9:00 p.m. for Compline. Attendance at chapel and meals is mandatory. The student body is all ordinands from all over the Caribbean, 10 men and 5 women including me. There are only two here who are native to Barbados. We share in chapel duties and other service activities, which are chapel cleaning, serving and clearing at meals, steward (locking and unlocking facilities daily) and chapel bell ringer (it gets rung at frequent intervals). We are required to wear our cassocks to chapel and to meals and because classes are held between Evensong and Compline, in order to accommodate other students from off campus who work during the day, we often find ourselves wearing them in class too.
I am not currently living in residence but am staying in the 'turor's' house (there is currently no residence tutor) which is next to the Principal's house in order to be a companion (where two or more meet...) to a visiting Reverend here on sabbatical until mid-February. As such, I have my own bathroom and share the kitchen with just this one other woman, although no cooking goes on as the food in the refectory is delicious and nothing else is required. When my house companion leaves, I will move into the residence. The walk from the house to the main building is pleasant, past the Principal's house that has two dogs with their eight pups, past a stream, and the resident two cows. The mourning doves and other birds call out all day and the crickets chirp all night. It's hot and sunny and a refreshing breeze from the Atlantic keeps the air comfortable (did you think I wasn't going to mention the weather?)
Due to the regime of the daily schedule, free time is primarily limited to Saturday (a day of no chapel) when many of the students go into the capital city, Bridgetown, a 10-13 mile bus ride through narrow and twisting roads - it takes an hour each way.
Classes are not quite as structured as at Wycliffe, syllabi and course outlines and textbooks are not consistent and not always readily available. The library is the main source of textbook material, which is shared by all the students.
Adventures I've experienced thus far include an island tour, a lizard in the kitchen, a centipede (six inches long) in the bathroom, a Christian healing service held on the lawn by a group other than the college body, and a street preacher who preaches the gospel through a bullhorn each morning in the village which is adjacent to Codrington's driveway. Praise the Lord!
I'm still adjusting and feeling pangs of homesickness - I miss you all - and will keep you up-to-date as to other happenings and adventures. Please remember me in your prayers. Everyone here says hello to Lorna Sampson, the Codrington to Wycliffe exchange student. God bless you.