Born in Woodbrook, Port of Spain in 1927, Clive Orminston Abdulah was ordained an Anglican priest on June 27, 1954 and spent the first 16 years of his ministry in Jamaica. On Tuesday September 29, 1970, he was consecrated as Bishop in the Diocese of Trinidad & Tobago, and thereby became the first native Bishop of the Diocese.
He was a founding member of the Inter Religious Organization of Trinidad & Tobago, served on the University Council of the University of the West Indies and was the first West Indian Bishop to serve on the Board of Directors of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
He retired as Bishop in 1993 but continued to serve the Diocese as an Assistant Bishop.
Bishop Abdulah is married to Mariko who has done considerable social work in the Diocese. They are the proud parents of three sons David, Kenneth, and Geoffrey.
Current Bishop Claude Berkley paid the following tribute:
On behalf of the Anglican Church in Trinidad and Tobago, I extend our wholehearted gratitude to Bishop Clive and Mariko and family for the sacrifice of their service over those many years. Congratulations and thanksgiving to Bishop Clive for another first, in respect of 50 years of episcopal presence among us. Your life and work are deeply appreciated.
When this historic event occurred, I was in 2nd form at the Bishop’s High School and the event was recognised enthusiastically and emphasis was laid on the emergence of the first indigenous Bishop of the Church and that any one of the boys could become the Bishop. This was happening in the context of Black Power activity which generated a certain defiant and resistance consciousness, as well as, a sense of accomplishment and triumph.
The Bishop impressed many locally and across the Province, with his charm and poise and when he visited it was quite a grand occasion in the parish. He was an excellent preacher and at the opening of Synod made a strong statement of the Church’s presence. There was a great sense of progress and hope.
Bishop Clive facilitated my eventual entry into the clergy with a clear rationale as to why persons like myself were needed for clergy. He ordained three of us to the Diaconate just prior to demitting office. His sense of social justice was keen and his advocacy for “houses before horses” is still remembered when he called the government to reorder its priorities. His concern for discipleship and evangelism inspired many programmes inclusive of the Disciples of Christ in Community (DOCC) programme.
Moreover, he was a practiced conversationalist and used social settings to great effect in the furtherance of his ministry. At the Provincial level, he carried a certain popularity and was foremost in adhering to the fundamental traditions of the faith. He was the communique person and always had a perspective that demanded propriety and forward thinking. At the local level, his service remains current in the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour. He provided me with good counsel on many occasions, which revealed a clear grasp of the intricacies of the episcopate.
His wife Mariko was an active ally in ministry with her strong support for the Mother’s Union and the social service ministries which the church managed. She was always very welcoming and hospitable in her demeanor and service.
Congratulations Bishop Clive and Mrs Abdulah! You stand tall among those who are creating the model for indigenous Bishops. ‘You bestrode the episcopate… like a Colossus…’
May God’s richest blessings continue to attend you and may the benefits of health and peace continue to serve you. Happy 50th anniversary of ordination bishop!
+Claude Trinidad and Tobago.
Information courtesy the Anglican Diocese. Photos courtesy Anthony Aqui.