When a person has given not only extensive, but exemplary service to the kingdom of God, they are worthy of praise, according to Bahamas Christian Council President Apostle Delton Fernander in his written message in honor of the retirement of Mount Tabor Church (MTC) senior pastor Bishop Neil C. Ellis.
“His Grace Bishop Neil Ellis is especially deserving of this time of honoring because he has not only dedicated his time to his God, but also his country,” wrote Fernander. “His works have touched all of us and has crossed denominational lines and differences. We are all better for this.”
Fernander said the world and the kingdom need more men who will lead God’s people along the path of righteousness without fear or favor.
“We need more men willing to stand alone on the side of justice while the crowd moves in the direction of what is popular. We need more men who understand how to show their strength through their convictions and beliefs. Our world needs more people who are prepared to sacrifice their plans and say as Isaiah said, ‘here am I, send me’,” wrote Fernander.
“It is my hope that future generations of clergymen and women will emulate the service given by Bishop Ellis and the men of his ilk and generation. Those who have left an indelible mark on our history because they did not shy away from our collective responsibilities to God and country. Those who valued the importance of nurturing your immediate and extended families.”
The gala in honor of Ellis and his wife Patrice Ellis was held on Friday, October 14, at the Imperial Ballroom, Atlantis.
Ellis is stepping aside as senior pastor at MTC, at the end of the year, after 35 years.
It was during his 2012 annual November sabbatical that Ellis said the Lord told him to give the church one more decade. He returned home and made the announcement that year of his impending retirement to the church.
Ellis described it as an intentional and slow but careful and prayerful process of searching for his successor because Mount Tabor’s next senior pastor will be the second pastor in the three and a half decades of the church. He said most people in Mount Tabor have only known one pastor their whole life.
Ellis said he liked that he is stepping down when he did because it allowed him to participate in choosing his successor.
“To be able to step down when you’re still full of energy, when you’re still in the right frame of mind, to step down when the people want you to remain and having the opportunity to participate in choosing my successor – this is what I like.”
Dr. Kenneth Romer, chairperson, MTC transition committee, said since its inception, MTC has become synonymous for celebrations.
“This spirit of celebration is entrenched deeply within our ecclesiastical DNA and undoubtedly reflects the spirit of our spiritual father and senior pastor who seemingly takes great delight in celebrating everyone and everything,” said Romer.