Young priest turns heads and hearts
It can be a challenge for a person to uproot their entire family and move to a new country and culture, but for Anthony Pettit and his family, the newest vicar at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the move has proved to be a blessing.
Dressed in a typical clerical collar, but with the addition of a cross earring, Rev Pettit, along with wife Ruth, and sons, Ben, 9, and Sam, 7, arrived in Bermuda in the early autumn of last year, and have settled in well within the church and the community.
“The warmth of their welcome they’re lovely people,” Mrs Pettit shared of their new church family at St. Paul’s.
“They are such faithful people,” Mr Pettit added.
The couple have found the church full of affectionate and devoted congregants that truly seek to work for the Kingdom of God, they said.
Mr Pettit has also found a warm welcome form other pastors, both within the Anglican community, and in other churches.
“It’s been lovely to be welcomed by pastors from other denominations,” he shared. He has also been enthralled by the diversity of Christianity in Bermuda. “The range of expressions of faith, just demonstrates the diversity of humanity that God has created.”
As with many churches, St. Paul’s has seen something of a decline in recent years, particularly with the passing of several prominent older members, but it remains a strong congregation, with active societies and groups, including the Boys and Girls Church Brigades.
While many churches seek to improve or expand youth programmes, Rev. Pettit is hoping to not only see those programmes grow, but to develop a greater unity within the different sections of the congregation.
“For me, it’s about... by the time I have to leave here, I hope to see that the church family is working together. (I want to see) that the groups are tied together so that everything is working together and the whole family is worshipping together.”
He recognises that Bermuda desperatrely needs further youth outreach, but, at the same time, understands that many of the problems and social ills that society faces have always been there, whether we have been willing to see it or not.
“We can’t change the world,” Mr Pettit said. “We need God.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t give and share and help, but that we realise that we are limited to helping and changing things in our own sphere, doing what we can, where we are, and acknowledging that we cannot tell another about the Gospel of Jesus Christ until their needs are met.”
He said the Gospel can change our culture, but people needed to recognise that the message of Jesus is about freedom, including the freedom to choose our own paths.
“We can’t force people to change, but we can try and meet others where they are, comfort them, try and help to meet their physical needs and then guide them on the right path.”
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