Canon Richard (Dick) Bennell 1925 - 2013

First published 30th January 2014

I was overjoyed when some of the friends arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely how you walk in the truth. (3 John v3)

Dick offered his entire ordained ministry not only within the Diocese, but also the City, of Bristol. He served its communities for a staggering 63 years and maintained an active PTO ministry right up until his death at the age of 88 in December.

After training at Mirfield, he was ordained Deacon in Bristol in 1948 and so began a ministry that would take him to parishes in Bedminster, Brislington, Fishponds, and Knowle before ending his full time work with 11 years as Chaplain to the St Monica home in Westbury-on-Trym.

In addition to his parochial ministry, Dick was Rural Dean of Brislington from 1973-79 and was made an Honorary Canon of Bristol Cathedral in 1979. He was renowned as a sensitive spiritual director and confessor.

In retirement, which began in 1991, Dick continued to offer his care and service to fellow retired clergy as the convenor for the Bristol Archdeaconry and supported local parishes in Bristol West.He and his wife Betty were also faithful visitors to Southmead Hospital, spending time with those known to the church as well as many who were not.

Giving the address at his Requiem Mass at Holy Trinity, Westbury on Trym, on 16 December Bishop Barry Rogerson, former Bishop of Bristol, commended Dicks inspiring priestly ministry and faithfulness as a parish priest "an example, whether we be ordained or no for which we ask for the grace to follow."

Writing afterwards, Bishop Mike has added:

"It is a measure of the longevity of Richards ministry that, when I arrived in the Diocese in 2003, he had already been retired 12 years. Nonetheless, it did not take long before word reached me of this dedicated and sensitive priest.

"Even those of us who did not enjoy the privilege of knowing or working with him closely must surely appreciate the sheer faith, energy and commitment which must have sustained such a long and fruitful ministry and, as Bishop Barry has said, we pray for the grace to follow his example.

"Our Diocese and the wider City of Bristol owe Dick great gratitude and we send our deepest sympathy to his widow, Betty."

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