The ordination and induction of Matthew Oliver to the pastorate of Hardwick Baptist Church, Stockton-on-Tees, took place on 3 October 2015, after a short interregnum of seven months.
Mr Oliver worked with the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) as a staff worker for Sunderland, Stockton and Teesside from 2007 to 2012.
He then moved on to work part time as assistant pastor at Grace Church in Doncaster, until the call came to be pastor at Hardwick Baptist Church, where he started work at the beginning of September 2015.
The church was full for this joyous occasion, as members, family and friends from Doncaster and from his home church in Sunderland gave thanks to the Lord for his provision of a pastor after such a short interregnum.
Church secretary Graham Turner described the events leading up to Mr Oliver’s calling to the pastorate by a unanimous decision of the church members in June 2015 — a process which started with a speculative email from Mr Oliver at the end of January.
Mr Oliver then described events leading up to this point from the perspective of him and his wife Nancy. Everything that happened gave testimony to the Lord’s guiding throughout the previous seven months.
The charge to the minister elect was given by Rev. Mark Rowcroft, minister of Geneva Road Evangelical Baptist Church, Darlington, who spoke from a section of the apostle Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20.
Mr Rowcroft also conducted the act of ordination and induction. The charge to the church was given by Rev. Alastair Gooderham, minister of Grace Church, Doncaster, who also gave a stirring address based on 2 Timothy 4:1-8.
The service was followed by an excellent tea prepared by the ladies of the church, at which good fellowship was shared by many in a warm and happy atmosphere.
We thank God for Mr and Mrs Oliver, and are looking forward to what God has planned for us in the days, weeks, months and years ahead, as we work together to bring the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ to many more on the Hardwick estate and surrounding area.