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Dill feels humbled ahead of ordination

By Sara WestheadIn just a few days, Bermuda will ordain its youngest Bishop ever in the Anglican Church, Rev Nicholas Dill.

But in advance of this momentous occasion, Rev Dill shared with his hopes and fears as he moves into this new stage of his ministry, along with his wife, Fiona, and his six children.

“It wasn’t something I was desiring or hungering after, for sure,” Rev Dill shared. “How am I feeling? I think I’m a mixture of, well … I feel very humbled by the whole experience. There’s a lot of weight of expectation there, but we prayed long and hard before all this and this is the way God has answered our prayers, and so we’re grateful that we know where the future is going, we know that the task is going to be big. It’s a new day for us, as a family, and for me as a person, but also for us as a diocese and a church.”

Rev Dill and his family have spent the last several years ministering in Pembroke Parish, through St John’s, St Monica’s and St Augustine’s churches.

“It’s hard to move on, but in a sense, I’m not moving very far and we’ll be connected with everyone here. I recognise that it’s ultimately that what God calls, he also equips, and so we’re looking to Him for that.”

While tomorrow will be Rev Dill’s last Sunday as the rector of St John’s, the church did have a special blessing for him and the family last week.

“We loved being here and we loved the people, so that’s going to be a big miss for us. But, it’s a new day, and I’ve got the support of my family and my wife. And the church, the last thing they did on Sunday was a prayer of release, which was nice,” Rev. Dill shared, with tears brewing in his eyes. “I get very emotional about the whole thing.”

Holding the office of Bishop of Bermuda does come with a great deal of responsibility, however prayer has been central to Rev Dill’s personal preparation for the new role ahead of him. What has he been praying for?

“My prayer is for wisdom, courage and boldness, humility, and that God’s kingdom on will come on earth as it is in heaven. It’s those kinds of things that I’m praying about.”

“I’m praying also for my family, because it’s going to be a big time of transition, and their daddy is going to be ever more distracted, I suspect, at least for the first little while.”

Rev Dill and his wife have six children, ranging in age from six to 21. Two of them are now away at school, with the oldest graduating from university this summer. He realises that this will be challenging for the children.

“We just have to give them a lot of grace and freedom. We do treat them as if they are followers of Christ for themselves, but at the same time, allow them to have their freedom and not allow people to put pressures on them that are unreasonable. They are still, after all, children.”

There will also be challenges for his wife, Fiona.

“Again, it’s a new day for her and she’s a tremendous support. She sees me with all my fears and foibles, and is just very prayerful and keeps me to task. She says, ‘You know, you’ve got to get over it. This is where God has put us, so we’re going to go it together.’ But obviously, for her, it’s also a big change … she has her own life and ministry, and she wants to work out how she can continue in the ministries that she has … How to work out all these different balances, as well as keeping the family together, that’s her primary focus at the moment — it’s to make sure that the children and the household are straight.”

Rev. Dill readily admits there will be a learning curve, as he takes to his new position, and as the Diocese as a whole becomes better acquainted with him. Already, people have begun coming to him to ask his opinion on different issues, however, he feels, for the moment at least, to not make any statements.

“At this stage, I don’t feel that I am in a position to speak for the church on big issues until we know what the mind of the church is. So part of my job will be to work them out together, within the church, what we believe on some of these issues. I don’t want to rush into every single political thing with a view, because I may be representing only myself in that view. There is dialogue that needs to happen within ‘the family’, if you like.”

“People do come to the church about big issues, but I’m not being drawn on them at the moment because I’m not in the position. When the time comes, I need to be careful to say the right thing at the right time, and to make sure that when I speak that I’m not just speaking from myself, but if called upon to speak for the church, that we’re speaking with a common voice, which is going to be an interesting thing because there are many different points of view within the Christian church, as much as without the Christian church.”

When the time comes to have those discussions, Rev. Dill hopes to approach them, “with fear and trembling and lots of prayer. We want to try and create an environment where we can look at issues Biblically and objectively, recognising that we all have different opinions, and that the whole process of bringing these things up is inevitably painful.”

While some things will come slowly, there are other things that Rev Dill hopes to pursue as soon as possible.

“There are going to be some things we’re going to do fairly quickly, and that is with a focus on youth, because I don’t think there’s any argument about the need for that.”

Rev Dill is hoping to set up a Diocesan group to oversee youth and children’s ministries, to help local parishes in developing ministries and outreaches to young people.

“The stuff we’re already doing in Pembroke, for example, holiday clubs and Sunday School training, and how to get involved in the local schools, that’s going to be expanded to the Diocese as a whole, so rather than reinventing the wheel, we’re just inviting people to come and to join in with what is already happening.”

There will also be an increased sensitivity to and the establishment of clear procedures in order to help protect children.

“We really need to be looking at and making sure that we’re training people up to be involved in youth and children’s ministry, but also in a way which is secure and best practised … The bureaucracy can be cumbersome, but if there is a clear system, and we’re using the local group SCARS to help us think through the issues as well. There are risks here, whenever people are dealing with children there is always potential for things, so we want to protect everybody involved in the whole process.”

Rev Dill is hoping to better promote communication between Anglican churches on the Island, as well as from inside the Diocese to the outside community. The Diocese’s official website is currently being revamped and is expected to be online soon, and many churches are now developing a Facebook presence.

He also hoping to centralise other areas of ministry, including marriage preparation and enrichment classes, evangelistic outreaches and community assistance programmes.

Rev Dill does expect challenges. “I think, personally, that the greatest challenge is going to be keeping the main thing the main thing, because there is a lot of bureaucratic issues, lots of things that haven’t been dealt with for a long time, lots of agendas people have that they want to be solved immediately, and there’s lots of learning that I’m going to have to do.”

“You could very easily become bogged down in those sorts of things, but to keep my own personal prayer life and reading of the scriptures — it starts with my own relationship with Christ. I can’t be a leader of others unless I’m being led by Christ myself. That’s going t to be one of the major challenges, keeping my own personal prayer life and faith grounded and rooted in Him.”

Rev Nicholas Dill: To be ordained as the Bishop of Bermuda next week

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Published May 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm)

Dill feels humbled ahead of ordination

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