Father Horace Ward commemorates 20 years with joy
Father Horace Ward, Jamaican-American rector of Holy Family Episcopal Church in Miami Gardens, celebrated his 20th year this past Saturday at a special service and reception, hosted by his congregation. The day was also declared “Horace D Ward Day” in a proclamation presented by Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert.
In an interview with National Weekly, Father Ward said he was excited that “God’s people gathered at Holy Family to celebrate our journey over the last 20 years.”
Father Ward said it has been his greatest joy developing the church’s congregation and the wider community. Over two decades, the church has strived to partner with the city, whether through running food distribution for the needy, establishing a children’s facility, and hosting numerous events, such as job fairs.
“Holy Family is God’s gift,” says Father Ward. “[The Church] has been an instrument of reconciling love in Miami Gardens.”
For the years to come, Father Ward says he is most excited about reaching “the next generation.” He promises Holy Family will remain faithful to the Gospel in innovative ways, and he is confident the youth know his church is a place where they “can continue growing in the life and faith of Jesus Christ, and participate in personal development and cultural programs.”
“I see people interested, learning and growing in their spiritual journeys,” says Ward. “So the church has to adapt.” Responding to the times, Ward says Holy Family used technology to engage with worshippers, from interacting with congregants on the church’s social media pages, to hosting prayer gathering by telephone call-ins.
Despite many happy years serving Miami Gardens, Father Ward says Jamaica is never far from his heart, and prays for greater unity.
“[But] I firmly believe there’s hope based on the efforts of second generation Jamaicans in colleges and the young professionals,” says Ward. “I am confident they’ll realize the goal of unity.”
He is, however, concerned there isn’t enough involvement in the Diaspora, “by males of the next generation. They are missing in several community organizations and in our churches.” One of his goals for 2016 is hosting a forum that “purposefully engage our young men.”
“Moving forward, I plan to continue with even greater purpose and determination, standing on the shoulders of those who gave so much to me over these 20 years at Holy Family.”