Former combat soldier takes post at St. Alban’s Church

Bishop Nicholas Sykes, left, welcomes the new Rector Christopher Pierce. - Photo: Jewel Levy

A former combat soldier and Gulf War veteran has arrived in Cayman to fight a new battle for the Lord.

Since leaving the army, Christopher Pierce embarked on a new calling as a dedicated Christian soldier. The latest step in his journey brings him to the Cayman Islands, where he has taken over the role as rector of St. Alban’s Church from Bishop Nicholas Sykes.

For years, Mr. Pierce knew the Lord wanted him on his battalion; he figured he just did not fit the bill.

“I thought God wanted an inoffensive ‘milquetoast’ – [a] bland and not exciting kind of person. That wasn’t me.”

The reverend created quite a stir within his battalion when he announced he would not be making a career out of the military.

“I did enjoy it with all its frustrations … I loved the camaraderie and a lot of other things that went along with it,” he said.

But he said the call of the Lord was much more compelling.

The Rev. Pierce’s career has been varied, from country music radio host, layman in the United States Army where he served in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq for several years before 1991, then finally to ordained Anglican priest.

He said he was very fortunate he did not have ill effects from some of the things they were exposed to, but he feels for those who did.

“I had never been in ministry, only as a layman while I was in active duty. I came to the conclusion that when I returned to the United States, I would begin serving the Lord,” he said.

He started as a student in seminary in 1991, after leaving the military.

A father of 6 children, husband to wife Stacy and lover of Popeye’s chicken, Mr. Pierce is an American by birth and a naturalized citizen of Ireland.

“What you see is what you get,” he said.

The reverend comes from the Church of Ireland in Donegal as rector of Clondahorkey with Cashel and Mevagh Union, where he served for the past 8 years.

The Rev. Pierce recognizes that Bishop Sykes has left “big footprints” but he intends to make his own mark.

Bishop Sykes, who celebrates his 78th birthday in April, said he is happy with the new rector.

“We have been trying for a few years to find a replacement to be specifically in charge of the congregation … Now we believe we have found him, we are pleased with that fact,” he said.

He said the Rev. Pierce is somewhat younger than he is and a great deal more energetic to be able to carry the congregation forward in the way the Lord intended.“No congregation can have one particular pastor forever. You have to have a successor; that’s just the way things are,” Mr. Sykes said.

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