Melrose minister appointed as new minister to Bermuda

Rev Alistair Bennett
Rev Alistair Bennett was appointed after preaching in Christ Church, Warwick, Bermuda.

Christ Church, Warwick, Church of Scotland in Bermuda has appointed Rev Alistair George Bennett, BSc, BD (Hons) as its new minister.

Mr Bennett, who has been the minister for Bowden and Melrose in the Scottish Borders for over 30 years, preached in the church on 17 Jan. 2016, and was voted in by an overwhelming majority. Mr Bennet, 63, is currently a Chaplain in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen. With his wife Judy he has three adult children.

Mr Bennet said:

"I am very pleased and excited to be going to Christ Church as its minister.

"One of the things that attracted me to Christ Church is that they are very active and outward looking. People think of Bermuda as affluent but there is poverty on the island and homelessness, so the congregation created a project called Loads of Love. On Saturday mornings men can come and shower, have their clothes laundered, get fresh clothing from a clothing bank and eat a hot meal.

"Then there is the Bermuda Overseas Mission that started in Christ Church but is now island wide. The mission recruits volunteers to help different countries. Last year they went to Malawi with Habitat for Humanity, for example.

"And they think Bermuda is sunny all the time, but it rained most of the time I was there and it actually has a higher rainfall than London.

"It will be a huge change because we have been in Melrose for 31 years. The move will take us closer to one of our daughters who lives in Canada. Our other daughter is in North Berwick and our son is in Crieff; I think they are both looking forward to visiting us."

Rev Derek Lawson, interim moderator for Christ Church, said the congregation has been looking for a new minister for the last year. Mr Bennet's leadership has been described as "strong", "inclusive" and "collaborative," Mr Lawson said.

"I'm delighted that the vacancy process has now led to an overwhelming vote in favour of electing and appointing the Rev Alistair George Bennett," he said. "I know the congregation is looking forward to his Induction, hopefully in mid-May.

"This is a vibrant, integrated congregation, with a good cross-section of ages, and which provides much-needed help to the poorer section of the community."

Mr Bennet served for many years as a non-executive member of the Borders Health Board. He also served as chair of the Church's Committee and Project Group, which carried out a £9 million redevelopment of the Scots Hotel in Tiberias, Israel. His interests include sport (golf, mountaineering and cycling), travel and reading.