Special to South Florida Times
The Rev. J. Kenneth Major was celebrated and serenaded during his service titled Thanksgiving at the Church of the Incarnation last Sunday.
The Right Rev. Laish Z. Boyd, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, preached at the service for Major, who is retiring after 42 years as a priest.
The son of immigrant parents from Long Island in the Bahamas, Major is a native Miamian who early in life envisioned for himself a career dedicated to enhancing the lives of others through pastoral care and community activism.
He graduated from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, and began advanced studies at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University.
Prior to completing a second degree, he moved to New York to accept a position as social caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services. Four years later, he completed his degree in theology at Mercer Seminary in Garden City, Long Island, N.Y. He was ordained a deacon at St. Philips Church, Brooklyn, in 1968.
That July, Bishop Henry I.
Louttit assigned Major to assist with the pastoral work at the Church of the Incarnation. Six months later, Major was ordained and became its vicar. He continued to build the congregation and, in 1974, became the first rector of the church. Because of his vision, the new church building was dedicated in October 1995. The old church was renovated and became a parish hall, named the J. Kenneth Major Hall.
Major’s social work experience provided him a unique perspective on the needs of the black community. In 1977, he was elected to the Economic Opportunity Family Health Center Board of Directors and subsequently board president, a position he held for more than 10 years.
During his tenure on the board, he was instrumental in preventing the federal government from turning the Family Health Center over to the county government. It now thrives as a first-class minority-owned community health care facility that serves as a model throughout the nation.
Major will be honored again in a “Grand Affaire” retirement celebration in December at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel.
Photo: Rev. J. Kenneth Major