Log In

Reset Password

Nicholas Dill marks ten years as Bishop

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, with his family (File photograph)

Ten years ago Nicholas Dill was installed as the youngest Bishop of Bermuda.

He was the twelfth person to serve in the role – one he had never considered as he spent the first part of his life detached from Christianity.

“I grew up as an occasional churchgoer,” Bishop Dill explained. “I was baptised and confirmed, and we have a pew in Devonshire Church that our family used to sit in three or four times a year when we went to church.”

It wasn’t until much later in life that religion, and Christianity specifically, started to be of interest to him.

“My sister, Karin, went off to England, came back and said that she had become a Christian.

“I was a philosophy student and I thought it was my job to get her brain back into her head. So, that Christmas I challenged her on her new-found faith and, while she couldn’t answer all my questions, she had a peace that I did not have. She was changed.”

Bishop Dill didn’t immediately follow in his sister’s footsteps, but the shift he saw in her did pique his interest in learning more.

The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda (Photograph supplied)

“Karin changed my perspective a little bit so when she invited me to visit her church in the heart of the city of London, I decided to go. It was a Tuesday at lunchtime and, generally speaking, you would think the church would be empty, but the experience was quite the opposite.

“There were about 800 businessmen there for Bible study and I wondered to myself, ‘What are these intelligent people doing?’ That got the ball ticking in my head.”

He continued his studies in politics and history at Trinity College, University of Toronto. At the end of his studies, while visiting with his sister again, he had a more intentional experience with Jesus.

“I went to London to visit my sister again and one of her friends gave me a book to read. I read it and there was a little prayer in the back. That night I prayed the prayer and invited Jesus into my life. I expected to hear angels and trumpets, but nothing really happened. It was more like a quiet peace and joy that came over me.”

Bishop Dill enrolled at Queen Mary College, University of London, where he obtained his law degree. However, as he became more involved in church life, he felt his spirit drawn to ministry.

“I remember asking the minister at my church if he enjoyed his job and he said that there was nothing more important you could do with your life than helping people find eternity with God. That stuck with me.”

The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, during the Anglican Church of Bermuda’s "Cycle of Prayer" last Saturday (Photograph supplied)

Even after realising that he was being called to ministry, Bishop Dill felt that he owed it to his parents to pursue law, as they had invested so much in his education. So, he joined his grandfather’s firm, Conyers Dill & Pearman, in 1992 and tried to balance his faith with his professional life.

“Initially I did litigation and then I moved down to private client work. And I encountered all these people with lots of money, lots of anxiety and very little peace and I wanted to share with them the joy of my faith. But I couldn’t.”

It wasn’t until his wife, Fiona, came home with the same conviction that Bishop Dill decided to take action.

“My wife married a lawyer, not a priest. But one day she came home and said she believed God wanted us to pursue this. So, we made the decision to follow the call together.”

The next challenge was a financial one. Having depended on his parents for his first two degrees, Bishop Dill was adamant that he would finance his studies in ministry on his own.

After six months of trying to secure funding without success, he started to wonder if it was indeed God’s calling until a private trust, Trust in Christ, offered to cover his expenses for two years.

In 1997 Bishop Dill and his young family went off to Oxford University to study theology. He was ordained in Bermuda as a Deacon and worked in the UK as an associate priest.

In 2005 he returned home to take the post of Priest-In-Charge of St John’s Church in Pembroke, a position he held until becoming Bishop in 2013.

“I didn’t plan on becoming the Bishop. I didn’t even want to be the Bishop. I enjoyed parish ministry and felt like we were really finding our groove in Pembroke.

“But when the time came for Bishop Patrick White to retire, pressure was applied to put my name in the running. I never expected to be successful, but the election result was that I was going to be the next Bishop of Bermuda. And I cried.”

He Reluctantly accepted the outcome, and began preparing for a new chapter in his ministry.

“I really wasn’t ready for this. But one afternoon, while moaning to my wife about it, she looked at me and told me to get over myself and get on with being the Bishop of Bermuda. That was ten years ago.”

Transitioning from parish ministry to the administrative role of Bishop of the Anglican Church of Bermuda was not without its challenges. In 2016 the Bermuda Census reported that the Anglican Church represented the highest percentage of Christians on the island.

There are nine parish churches, plus the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Hamilton. The role of Bishop provides administrative and theological leadership for the entire denomination and includes many ceremonial responsibilities.

“It’s a very interesting position. It’s not what I expected it to be. I didn’t expect the amount of administration, human resources, property management and legal work. I use my law degree more now than before,” Bishop Dill said.

“But I focus on finding God in the middle of all of that. Wanting to be a good steward and defender of the faith. The things that give me life are still the basics of preaching, teaching, evangelism, and pastoral care. All the other stuff I do because I have to do it.”

Among the many accomplishments during his tenure, Bishop Dill has set up the Anglican Theological Institute of Bermuda, the Racial Justice Committee and ordained the first female deacons and other Bermudians to ministry.

A special celebration service, Pentecost in the Park, is planned for tomorrow at the Botanical Gardens at 3pm. The public are invited to attend.

“It just so happens that my tenth anniversary coincides with our annual Pentecost celebration. So, we are an outdoor afternoon service celebrating the birth of the church and the tenth anniversary of my consecration as Bishop,” he said.

“This year we have invited Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon from Nigeria as our guest preacher.”

According to the constitution of the Anglican Church, Bishop Dill can hold the office until age 70. At 59, he has no plans of retiring early.

“I guess I’m halfway through my tenure. Unless God calls me elsewhere, I’ll be here for a while longer. I’m aware that this is a long game. The church is under a process of transformation and change of culture.

“Seeing renewed hope has been the most encouraging part of the job. Seeing growth in places that I thought the doors would be closing has been exciting and rewarding.”

More important than being the Bishop of Bermuda, he is an active family man. The Dills have six children – Hannah, Samuel, Phoebe, Benjamin, Miriam and Rachael – and are the proud grandparents of Esme and Florence. The Bishop enjoys boating, biking, and barbecuing with his family.

While his role of Bishop is a special one, he insists that he is just a “sinner saved by grace”.

“I am a disciple of Jesus like every other Christian, trying to maintain my relationship with Him day by day. Relying on His power and wisdom, reading His word. I’m not a super holy person by any means, but I have been set aside for this task, so I’m here, by God’s grace.

“To quote St Augustine, ‘For you I am a bishop, with you I am a brother.’”

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published May 27, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated May 25, 2023 at 1:47 pm)

Nicholas Dill marks ten years as Bishop

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon