July 12, 2018
Rev Morris Russell passed away June 27th after a sudden illness. Rev Russell served as the pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Nassau from 1980-1990, and was instrumental in starting and developing many of the ministries of the church there, and throughout The Bahamas. He was 90 years old.
Rev A. Morris Russell, former pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Nassau, passed away on June 27 after taking ill suddenly on that day. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday in February, and survived two heart attacks over the last five months. Rev Russell ministered in Nassau from 1980 to 1990, where he served as senior pastor of the church, conducted a weekly radio programme on ZNS Radio and developed a monthly television devotional ministry, and launched a number of new outreach and expansion initiatives that continue today.
Rev Russell came to The Bahamas after nearly 25 years of ministry in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Ontario, Canada. Prior to that, he and his wife, Betty Russell, served as missionaries in Norway for six years. The couple both became immersed in the ministry of Calvary Bible Church, helping to grow the youth, women’s and outreach ministries of the church.
Pastor and Sister Russell became well known in the community, especially known for their compassionate visitation among the sick and needy. Their passion for people was a driving force behind their service, which helped formed strong bonds among the congregation.
Just two days before his passing, Rev Russell celebrated 68 years as an ordained minister, having received his ordination in 1950.
While in The Bahamas, Rev Russell helped start the Christian Counseling Centre on Collins Avenue in 1986, in the building named after Sister Russell, which continues to serve the community after 32 years under the direction of Pastor Fred Arnett and a team of dedicated counsellors. In 1981, Rev Russell, along with Calvary Bible Church’s founding pastor, Rev Earl Weech and other church leaders, planted Calvary Bible Church in Freeport, Grand Bahama, with the support and urging of the Nassau congregation of the local believers in Freeport. This church continues its ministry to this day.
Given his own past experience, Rev Russell had a heart for foreign missions, which was a key part of the outreach ministry of Calvary Bible Church. One of the church’s missions initiatives was to build and develop churches, clinics and school facilities in Haiti. Dozens of Bahamian volunteers traveled to Haiti on multiple mission trips to serve the many needs of that struggling nation.
Rev Russell chaired the committee that brought Rev Dr Billy Graham to The Bahamas in 1982, oversaw the expansion of Calvary Bible Church’s properties to meet the needs of the growing congregation, lead multiple group trips to the Holy Land, and spoke regularly at school assemblies.
Sister Russell passed away in 1986 after a fierce battle with cancer. There was a massive outpouring of love for her, as she had been so deeply involved in counseling, prayer and women’s groups in the church.
Rev Russell re-married Sarah ‘Morag’ Russell who continued to minister alongside Rev Russell for his remaining years in The Bahamas.
In 2016, Rev Russell released a book that chronicled his entire life’s ministry, titled “Norway to Nassau: My Exciting Life of Faith and Service”, which includes more than a dozen chapters dedicated to a detailed account of his ministry in The Bahamas.
Memorial donations can be made through the Christian Counselling Centre, Nassau, via their web site at www.christiancounsellingcentre.org.
The funeral for Rev Russell was held at Calvary Baptist Church in Burlington, Ontario, and he was interred at Springcreek Cemetery, Mississauga, Ontario.