Retired North Shore minister recognized for faithful service

Sherry Martell
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TATAMAGOUCHE - Tatamagouche preacher Rev. Morley Bentley was honoured recently during a special ceremony naming him Minster Emeritus.
The title is given to retired ministers who have offered many years of faithful service to their church and community.
"I was surprised when I learned of it," said Bentley.
"I felt very pleased and humbled to think they would do that."
More than 200 people attended the service held at Sharon United Church in Tatamagouche on Sept. 20 to celebrate the minister's 49 years of devoted service to parishioners in the province.
Bentley was born in Springhill, raised in Upper Stewiacke, graduated from Normal College in Truro in 1949, and soon after launched into a teaching career.
He said one night while he and his wife were out at a dance, he turned to her and asked, "What would you think of me becoming a minister?"
"Her reaction was 'you've got to be kidding,'" he said.
But she supported her husband's new venture, and in 1960 Bentley was ordained and received his first charge in the highlands of Cape Breton Island.
He said it's hard to put into words what drew him to the ministry but he had a feeling it was something he needed to do.
In 1970 he returned to teaching at Tatamagouche Rural High School until 1974 when he felt the call back to the church pulpit.
"I've been kicking around for a long time," he said with a chuckle.
The reverend has officiated over countless weddings, comforted families at funerals and has been included in many of the community's special celebrations.
He retired in 1990, leaving his post at the West New Annan-Wentworth charge but has returned to ministerial duties whenever called upon.
He said there have been many highlights during his career, but just being around people brings him joy.
Bentley has remained active in the church as organist at the Tatamagouche parish for many years, as well as every second Sunday at Bayhead Union Church.
He is also director of the Northumberland Chorale that continues to share the word of God through song.

Organizations: Normal College, Sharon United Church, Tatamagouche Rural High School Bayhead Union Church

Geographic location: TATAMAGOUCHE, North Shore, Springhill Upper Stewiacke Cape Breton Island

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