BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 3rd, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – A church service titled a Family Fellowship and Farewell Eucharist held at St. George’s Parish Anglican Church on Sunday, July 31st brought effusive expressions of gratitude from church groups and community members. They directed their appreciation towards the retiring Venerable Archdeacon Emeritus Valentine B. Hodge.
The Venerable Archdeacon Emeritus Valentine Hodge, who is scheduled to leave the Federation later this week with his wife of more than 40 years, Mrs. Ouida Hodge, has credited his early career in St. Kitts with helping him get his “feet wet in the Ministry.” From all accounts, he made a lasting impression on generations of his congregants, so Sunday’s church service was carried live on both ZIZ and WINNFM undoubtedly for the benefit of those who could not attend.
Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris was in attendance and read a Bible passage from First Samuel, Chapter 1, v. 20 to 28. The scripture details Hannah’s dedicating or giving over of her baby Samuel to the Lord in perpetual service to Him.
Reflecting the next day on the Venerable Archdeacon Emeritus’ impact on the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Harris said that, “While in St. Kitts, Archdeacon Hodge served not only his church congregation, but he was in full service to all of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. When someone was needed, for example, to speak on a variety of matters from history to religion, Archdeacon Hodge was available on the radio. When someone was needed to intercede, for example, to deal with the difficult challenges of crime, Archdeacon Hodge was one of the leaders of the Season of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance held earlier this year.
Also, from the testimonies that were given at the church service, it is clear that he sees himself as being in service to humanity, willing to help a brother or a sister in need of support, love, attention or an act of kindness. He is an exemplary citizen and one who makes St. Kitts and Nevis proud. Even in the most difficult of times, he stood honourable and tall in stature and we thank him for the constancy and consistency of his advice and support in helping us build a nation that is doing things pleasing to God. We say thank you and wish him and his wife a wonderful time filled with blessings, support and God’s mercies as they now undertake their retirement.”
Between 1962 and 1964, Mr. Valentine Hodge taught at the St. Johnston’s Village School in Basseterre [now the Dr. William Connor Primary School] upon graduating from The Valley Secondary School in Anguilla [now the Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School], where he was born in 1945. That was his first stint working in St. Kitts.
He attended the Leeward Islands Teachers’ College in Antigua from 1964 to 1966. He then spent three years studying at the Codrington Theological College in Barbados and later attained his Licentiate in Theology and Bachelor’s in Theology at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“While there [at UWI], I was made a Deacon in 1972,” he told The Anguillian Newspaper in March 2015, adding that, “The ordination was held in Basseterre, St. Kitts.”
In June 1973, he was ordained a Priest at St. Mary’s, Anguilla. This was around the time that he began working again in St. Kitts. Speaking to The Anguillian Newspaper, he described his second stint here as a career-defining time.
“After a short stint at St. George’s, Basseterre, as a Cleric, I moved to Sandy Point as Priest-in-charge of St. Anne and St. Thomas in Middle Island,” he told the newspaper, adding that, “It was from there that I really began to get my feet wet in the Ministry, shall we say. I was there for six and a half years. I left in August 1979 and went to Antigua and was there for 24 years.”
In 2003, Mr. Hodge moved back to St. Kitts, where he worked up until now. He told The Anguillian Newspaper that, “In September 2003, I was asked by the Bishop to become the Parish Priest of St George’s, Basseterre, with St. Barnabas. This was to succeed Archdeacon Rudolph Smithen who had become Dean of the Cathedral when Dean William Lake passed – and by October 1st of that year, the Bishop appointed me Archdeacon.” The Bishop of the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba, The Right Reverend Leroy Errol Brooks OBE, conferred the title of Archdeacon Emeritus on him in September 2015.
On Friday, July 12th, 2013, Archdeacon Hodge was installed as the 2013/2014 President of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga. The Venerable Archdeacon Emeritus Hodge has also served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the St. Kitts Christian Council, as well as Public Relations Officer for the St. Christopher Outreach Centre, which is a joint venture between the Chandiramani family of RAMS Trading and the Christian Council, that opened its doors on Saturday, June 19th, 2010 to provide meals, clothing, counseling services and shower facilities to the hungry and the homeless three days per week.
The Venerable Archdeacon Valentine Hodge married Ouida, a Barbadian, in the early 1970s. They have a son called David, who was born in St. Kitts, and a daughter called Diana, who was born in Antigua.
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