One of VISIONS oldest, dearest friends is Father David Stedman, pastor of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Sea Cow’s Bay, our long-time home base on Tortola. Father Stedman is a born bridge-builder in the most practical, most generous sense—for his church community, in the island communities at large, and for VISIONS staff and participants every summer.
Father Stedman was born and raised in the central hills of Jamaica in the village of Mandeville. He completed his early education at the local Secondary School where his mother was one of his teachers. He went on to pursue his theological training at St. Peter’s College in Kingston, the seminary of the Diocese of Jamaica.
When asked what inspired him to become a pastor, Father Stedman replied that in his mid-teens he searched for an answer to the question “What will I be when I grow up?” A number of influences turned his attention to the Ordained Ministry of the Anglican Church. After nearly four years of prayer and consultation, he knew this was his calling. Ordained in 1965, Father Stedman spent 17 years in the Church in Jamaica, six years with a Christian rehabilitation program in Miami, FL, and has spent the past 15 years in Tortola.
Father Stedman has been an enthusiastic supporter and a valuable friend to VISIONS since the inception of our program in Tortola in the Sea Cow‘s Bay community. He keeps us informed throughout the year about all manner of things going on and relevant in Sea Cow’s Bay and island-wide. He is among the first to welcome us to our BVI home each season, and is instrumental in helping us set up each year. Many are the on-the-ground problems Father Stedman has helped VISIONS solve. And many are the logistics—telephone service, water and sewer and cistern, postal issues, and more—that Father Stedman has navigated VISIONS through. On the heels of every hurricane in the past 13 years, Father Stedman dials up our main office in Pennsylvania to proudly report that, “Another hurricane and all the houses VISIONS built are still standing soundly!”
Father Stedman shares much of his work space for the benefit of our beds and summer gear, and is a trusted liaison with the community. He unfailingly lends a patient ear to Tortola program directors and staff. Father Stedman is a behind-the-scenes hero, for most Tortola participants usually only see him on Sundays. But without him, VISIONS BVI program wouldn’t be the same.