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Bishop Esme Beswick: 'I give God all the glory'

PICTURED: Bishop Esme Beswick with husband, Herbert, collecting her MBE

BISHOP ESME Beswick is one of Britain’s longest serving black female Pentecostal church leaders and will celebrate her 50th anniversary in ministry leadership with special services next weekend at her church, Nebaioth Prophetic Church in Stockwell, south London.

She is a leader who has made great strides. In 2002, Bishop Beswick became the first black woman to serve as President of Churches Together in England, an ecumenical body which promotes unity among church denominations. The tenure ended in 2006.

She has been present in a ministerial capacity at services that celebrated key moments in British history, including a service celebrating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The late Princess Diana launched a Drug and Alcohol Awareness project, set up by Bishop Beswick via the organisation she founded, the Joint Council of Churches for All Nations (called the Joint Council of Anglo Caribbean churches up until 2015).

DEDICATED: Bishop Beswick at Windsor Castle for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee service

Bishop Beswick also served as a President of Christian and Muslim Forum and Borough Dean of Lambeth from 1991 to 2000. And to top it all off, she’s received a MBE for her work.

Bishop Beswick puts the success she’s experienced down to her faith in God.

She said: “I feel humbled yet excited that God has allowed me to achieve all that I have. Half a century of serving God is a long time, I give God all the glory for everything.”

Born in Rocky Point, Clarendon, Jamaica over seven decades ago, Bishop Beswick grew up in a Christian family.

Her father was a farmer and preacher, and she was the youngest and only girl among seven brothers.

She became a Christian at 16, and felt called to the ministry at a young age.

In 1961, Bishop Beswick arrived in Britain from Jamaica to start nurse training.

She recalled: “I got the shock of my life coming here, seeing the grey skies and experiencing the cold weather and the subtle racism.”

Despite the racism, Bishop Beswick found that her faith and upbringing had inadvertently equipped her to serve as a Christian leader in an arena dominated by men.

PICTURED: Bishop Esme Beswick with the late Princess Diana

She shared: “I think because I grew up with boys, I wasn’t fazed by what men might say. I was very resilient, and being in a family where I was told I could be anything I wanted made me confident.”

Family remains important to Bishop Beswick. The mother of four children, and grandmother to nine grandchildren, she credits the support of Herbert, her husband of 56 years, as playing a key role in her success.

Bishop Beswick has no plans to give up work yet and when asked what advice she would give women coming up behind her, Bishop Beswick shared: “I would tell any woman called to the ministry, you have to have faith in God and yourself.

“And you mustn’t let anyone think you are not able to fulfil your role and calling.”

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