Reverend Canon Stephen Fields was ordained a deacon in 1981 in Brooklyn, New York and a priest in 1983 in Barbados. He was appointed an Honourary Canon of St. James Cathedral, in Toronto in 2003, and has been the Incumbent (minister) at The Church of St. Stephen since 1996. He is also the Founding President of The Downsview Youth Covenant, an outreach program to youth in the Jane-Finch-Wilson community in Toronto.
After further theological studies in New York, he returned to Barbados in 1982 and spent 11 years serving the church at the parochial and diocesan levels. In 1993, he was invited to be Associate Priest at Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Toronto. As a priest in the diocese, he has coordinated ministry events within the Black Anglican community in Toronto, including the first and subsequent Black History Eucharistic services (1996-2003), in the Diocese of Toronto, and coordinated the planning of the 5th Caribbean Anglican Consultation (CAC), held in Toronto (1999), and assisted with the planning of CAC-6 in Nassau, Bahamas (2001). The CAC is a biennial conference, which began in 1991, for the clergy and laity in the Anglican Church in North America and the Caribbean. It examines the ministry and ministry needs of the clergy, and those of the congregants from the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora, to determine how the congregants are contributing to the life of their church communities, and how the Church is responding to their needs. He also served as Chaplain to the Caribbean Chorale of Toronto, an ecumenical choir of Caribbean heritage, established in 1993.
In 2005, Reverend Canon Stephen Fields chaired the local planning committee and was Member of the International Planning Committee of the Third International Conference on Afro-Anglicanism, a gathering of Black Anglicans from around the world, which meets every 10 years. He continues to work with the Jane-Finch Church Coalition, an ecumenical group of church and para-church agencies committed to the social and spiritual development of the neighbourhoods in the Jane-Finch-Wilson community in the north-west section of Toronto.
Honours: Inclusion in Who’s Who In Black Canada (1st & 2nd editions, 2002 & 2006), African Canadian Achievement Award (Excellence in Religion; 2005); recognized for leadership, Black Anglicans Coordinator Committee (2005); President’s Award, Caribbean Chorale (2003); Award of Recognition for leadership in the Caribbean Anglican Community in North America (1999).
Works: Articles in The Anglican (Diocese of Toronto).
Education: Master of Sacred Theology., General Theological Seminary, NY (1982); Bachelor of Arts (Theology – Upper Second Class Honours), University of the West Indies (1980); Diploma in Theology, Codrington College, Barbados (1980).
Motto: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Favourite book? The Bible. The Bible is the fundamental guide in my life. Not only does it give a perspective of God’s liberating activity in history, it provides a clue to that ongoing emancipatory work and how we may share in that work for the benefit of God’s people and all of creation.
Favourite quote? “My Government, I assure you, Sir, will not be found loitering on colonial premises after closing time.” – The Late Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, Premier and First Prime Minister of Barbados (addressing the Secretary of State at the Barbados Constitutional Conference in London, England, July 1966.)
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? It is my hope to visit the “holy” sites in West Africa where my ancestors were held bound in chains, and where they were forced to board ships headed for slavery in the Caribbean.
Who inspires you? The hard work and sacrifices of the poor people of my native country, Barbados, including my maternal grandmother. Their toil in the canefields on the plantation, and desire to see their children and grandchildren enjoy a better life than they did, provided the springboard for Barbados’ political independence.
Why do you do what you do? Being a priest in the church is an amazing privilege as I am afforded to share in the lives of many persons. With Jesus, I am able to serve many needs, bless many and be blessed by many more. I love to serve.