Rev. Delbert Bannister
Delbert has served First Baptist as the Associate Pastor for Seniors, part-time, from 2002 until his retirement in 2014. In this role, Delbert provided pastoral support to several seniors’ groups and taught a Bible class on Sunday mornings. He carried out a ministry of visitation, mostly but not exclusively, among seniors, often led the Wednesday night Prayer Meeting and did hospital visitation. Prior to this role, Delbert served as an interim Pastor for three months, while the church awaited the arrival of Rev. Dr. Richard Jackson.
From early in his Christian life, Delbert has claimed the words of St. Paul in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, as a motto to live by. This verse is reflected in all that Delbert does, at First Baptist and in life. Delbert possesses a wealth of experience, wisdom and wit. He enjoys people and is well known for his excellent story-telling, which he puts to good use at every opportunity. Part of his busy life includes making maple syrup, gardening and organizing bus tours. Delbert has been married to Eloise for almost fifty years. They have two children, David and Alicen, and two grandchildren, Megan and Dylan.
Delbert hails from Lorneville, New Brunswick and is the eldest of three children. He left school when he was fifteen and worked at a number of jobs, from a crew member with the Department of Highways, a clerk with the Canadian Pacific Railway, to part of the warehouse staff with Ford of Canada. Through the influence of a Christian youth group, he made a decision for Christ in his early twenties and later felt called to the Ministry. He enrolled at United Baptist Bible Training School (UBBTS) in Moncton in grade 10, when he was twenty-five and completed the high school program. He often jokes that he and Eloise were married when he was in grade 11.
From UBBTS, he went on to study at Acadia Divinity College, where he graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Theology and was ordained that same year in his first pastorate of Penobsquis-Portage Vale in New Brunswick. Other pastorates included Hantsport, Nova Scotia, Elgin and Sussex, New Brunswick, and student pastorates in Second and Third Elgin and Windsor Baptist Church.
In 1987 Delbert became the District Director for the Canadian Bible Society in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, a position he held for twelve years. That ministry included the oversight of the District Bible Center and office in Saint John, speaking and promoting the Bible Society’s ministry throughout the Churches, service clubs, and conferences of all denominations. On behalf of the Bible Society, he travelled to Kenya, Russia, Albania, Honduras and the former Soviet Union Countries of Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. He also served on a part-time basis with the Canadian Forces Reserve as Padre with the 31 Saint John Service Battalion for seven years.
Called to his Alma Mater, Delbert joined the staff of Acadia Divinity College as the Director of Development and Recruitment, with responsibilities for promoting the advantages of seminary education to those called to Christian Ministry and for raising the necessary funds to advance the College.
Following his retirement from Acadia, Delbert came to First Baptist. Delbert says that being a part of First Baptist has been one of the highlights of his very active life in ministry. Following his retirement from First Baptist in 2014, the church congregation voted to give Delbert the title of Minister Emeritus, in recognition of his ministry at First Baptist and his contributions in the life of the congregation. Delbert is only the second minister in the very long history of First Baptist Moncton to receive this honour.