In a new venture, to introduce the folks of Bellshill Central to the rest of the church family, visitors and the wider community we are interviewing various “well kent faces” from the congregation. We thought that we’d start with Rev Kevin de Beer, our minister.
I’ve been at Bellshill Central for five months and one thing I love about our church is we at Bellshill Central are a warm and welcoming congregation.
Once upon a time … I had a dream to exercise ministry in a far away land. I did not pay much attention to it because my hands were full in South Africa and I sensed that I was making a contribution to both church and country. Can you imagine my surprise when that dream was fulfilled and I was accepted by the Church of Scotland to offer ministry in this beautiful country. It has been a remarkable privilege to have my call affirmed at Bellshill Central and I look forward to many years of fruitful service.
I find a lot of joy … in the simple gift of my family’s flourishing in Scotland. It was a significant risk to start over in a new country, but it is a real joy to see my family thriving.
I am not fashionable but … I take delight in discovering the uniqueness of my voice and gifts. In some ways I sense that I should have been born about twenty years earlier, in that my fashion sense is about twenty years out of date. Do not tell it to anyone, but I still get the “shivers” when I hear Barry Manilow singing one of his sappy love songs. I am relieved, however, to have grown up in a world that is graced by Michael Buble…the voice, the presence and the style gives me hope that some modern music will be able to match the likes of Phil Collins, Rod Stewart and Elton John.
Tell us what drew you to being the Minister/Pastor for Bellshill Central Parish Church?
When we arrived in Scotland for my assessment conference in April 2015 we had to discern whether God would want us in the West or the East. I have always had a sense that “West is Best” as I was raised in Florida, which is on the west side of Johannesburg. The decision was also facilitated by the fact that Cheryl’s grandfather was born in Glasgow and thus coming to the West was a little like ‘coming home’.
At the hotel where we were staying during the assessment conference, Jamie Stuart, an elder in the Church of Scotland prayed for us as a couple. Jamie is the author of the Glasgow Bible and we saw this as further evidence that we were meant to head West. We were aware that there were a few vacancies in the Hamilton Presbytery and so drove through to Hamilton, convinced that this was the Presbytery where God wanted us to serve.
When we returned to South Africa, the estate agent in Hamilton drew our attention to a house available to rent in North Road, Bellshill, and we simply knew that this was where we were meant to be.
The funny thing is that we thought that there was only one church in Bellshill as there were a variety of glitches on the Church of Scotland website when it came to posting the profile of Bellshill Central. We thought that God might be calling us to the West Church, as that was the only profile we could read whilst in South Africa.
Stanley and Drew were very helpful in sending me a parish profile as soon as I was in a position to apply for vacant charges. As I met with the leadership, there was a real sense in which the call to serve Bellshill Central Parish Church was affirmed.
I look forward to our further time together serving as part of God’s wider family.
We know that you have written some books, do you have plans for another?
I have actually written a few books:
Fantasy is my flagship book and one that I have been very keen to advertise and share. It is the celebration of 25 years in ministry and I sense that it is my best work.
I have also written a brief introduction to various biblical stories entitled ‘Fifteen minutes to read’, as well as a manual on creatively engaging life’s joys, losses and challenges.
I wrote a book before leaving South Africa entitled ‘Sitting in the middle of the bus’ and I am editing and simplifying that work so that it might serve as a brief introduction to Christian Faith, the Bible and the challenges presented in love and loss. This book will, hopefully appear soon under the title ‘First Steps’.
I have also written a book on leadership and call entitled Shaping Story which shares the story of my call to Scotland.
My books are available as e-books on Amazon and I will be approaching the leadership at Bellshill Central to consider whether one or two of them might be worth publishing as ‘hard copies’.
How long have you and Cheryl been married and how did you meet?
Cheryl and I are in our twentieth year of marriage and we met at a friend’s engagement party. It was very much ‘love at first sight’ and even though we have faced various challenges, I would not change our journey in any way, shape, size or form. We are quite simply meant to be together and Cheryl is a real gift from God in life, love and ministry.
You have two children, Michael and Sarah, what has surprised you most about parenting? In what ways are being our Pastor and a Parent the same?
Everything has surprised me about parenting. There are no books and no advice that can prepare anyone for parenting. Parenting proves challenging in so many ways and it demands a variety of gifts and attitudes, including the likes of listening, forgiveness, generosity and compassion. In so many ways these prove to be similar qualities that are needed as I seek to pastor a congregation. At times the temptation is to speak too much (I am a preacher after all) but the real gift and challenge is to be someone who is prepared to listen. This is anything but easy and requires a lot of practice.
Being a Pastor/Minister is bound to be very demanding of your time, energy and emotions. What is your favourite way to recharge and find refreshment?
I have struggled at times with rest and relaxation and yet in my earlier years I played cricket, and for a while I played golf. I do enjoy walking, reading and writing. I am also very fortunate in that I enjoy preaching and so the core aspect of my work and calling brings me much joy.
If you could be a super hero, what would your super power be? What would be your weakness?
My super power would be passion. I am passionate about life and I love the phrase…”It is not the years that we live, but the life in our years that matters”. I have lived my adult life with a passion and enthusiasm that has even surprised me at times.
My weakness is that I tend toward impatience…I ‘feel’ life at a level of intensity that can prove overwhelming and it is thus good practice for me to withdraw every now and again so as to reflect on life and give others the space to thrive and flourish.