Bennett, Dr Cyril J.

Financial administrator and local preacher. He was born at Chingford, Essex in December 1913. At the age of 8 he developed a lifelong enthusiasm for the worldwide outreach of the Church. In 1930 he joined the staff of the WMMS, where he was involved in implementing the Methodist Church Union Act of 1929 and became responsible for the MMS's portfolio of overseas properties. In 1937 a short period as a lay missionary in Eastern Nigeria, where he concentrated on training local people for administrative responsibility, was cut short by illness, leaving him with periodic bouts of malaria and fever.

In 1939, on the staff of the Methodist Education Committee, he reorganized the administration ofWestminster and Southlands colleges and the Methodist boarding schools. But the following year he returned to the MMS as an accountant. As its financial secretary from 1954, he reorganized its finances, including an international banking system. His concern for overeas students in post-war Britain led to the opening of the first Methodist International Houses. In 1975 he was seconded to the World Council of Churches to establish what became known as the 'World Church Bank' to give financial aid to the poorest nations independently of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He returned home the following year to become Vice-President of the Conference. He was a foundation trustee of the Fund for Human Need. He died in Rustington on 24 July 2002.

  • Methodist Recorder, 15 August 2002
  • Colin Morris, Snapshots (2007), pp.90-92