Members of the Anglican Church and the community at large are today mourning the loss of Canon Thomas Nesbitt.

Canon Nesbitt was Bermuda’s first Black incumbent and Rector of Christ Church in Devonshire for 22 years.

Word of his passing was confirmed yesterday, in an official notice via social media, by the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda.

The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill wrote: “Last night, we said goodbye to an extraordinary man-the faithful servant of the Lord and a trailblazer in the Anglican Church of Bermuda and for Bermuda at large.

“Canon Thomas N Nisbett, though small in stature was a man who exhibited all the fruit of the Spirit as he led the growth of St Monica’s as Lay Reader, Chaplain to the Bishop and the Governor, Bermuda’s first black incumbent and for 22 years Rector of Christ Church, Devonshire.

“For me he was like a spiritual father. Taught me confirmation classes, encouraged me to go into the ministry, purchased my first robes, attended my ordination to the priesthood in England and was a model of servant-leadership throughout.

“He will be much missed, but has entered into the joy of the kingdom, with his Lord and his blessed wife Winnie.

“May he rest in peace and rise in glory. We pray for the Rev Thomas Jr, and Michael his sons and their whole family.”

His remarks were echoed by Premier David Burt, who remembered the late Canon Thomas Nisbett OBE as “a man of strong character and convictions whose life story testifies to the triumph of right over might”.

He noted as well, that Canon Nisbett was the first black Anglican Priest-in-Charge of a Parish in Bermuda and is recognized as a pioneer in the Anglican denomination.

“The powerful forces that conspired to defeat his desire to serve the people were no match for a man whose small stature belied a giant of faith and determination,” said Premier Burt.

“He comforted and counselled people during the 1981 General Strike and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with those who dared speak out against South Africa’s apartheid regime. And through all of this, pastored congregations in Bermuda with love and dedication.

“We owe Canon Nisbett a tremendous debt of gratitude as one of those Bermudians who extended his Christian beliefs to action, lifting up the most vulnerable in our society.

“On behalf of the Government and People of Bermuda, I wish comfort and peace to his sons and family as they mourn the loss of this steadfast servant of God and the people.”