In a day of sad divisions within many churches it was a joy to see two churches move forward together for the cause of the gospel.
On Saturday 17 October, Heath Evangelical Church, Cardiff, and Emmanuel Evangelical Church, Newport, met together to ordain Ben Fiddian to the Christian ministry and induct him as assistant minister at Emmanuel.
The ordination was conducted by Wyn Hughes, the minister of Heath, with the Heath elders, while the induction was conducted by the minister of Emmanuel.
The right hand of fellowship was extended by the elders of Emmanuel, as well as Peter Milsom and Meirion Thomas, representatives of the Associating Evangelical Churches of Wales (AECW).
Mr Fiddian grew up in the Heath and began his studies at university in Sheffield. He has spent time in research, but aware of the call of God has studied at the Faith Mission Edinburgh and Wales Evangelical School of Theology (WEST), interspersed with cross-cultural mission in China and among Chinese students in Bangor, North Wales.
Returning to this country after a period in the USA, Mr Fiddian and his wife believed it right to seek an opportunity for settled ministry.
While those events were taking place in the Fiddian family, Emmanuel had been actively seeking an assistant over a number of years to supplement and develop their own ministry. A number of events drew Mr Fiddian and Emmanuel together.
The first time Mr Fiddian preached at Emmanuel there was a warm and welcoming response to his ministry. He was invited to preach on several occasions, and, after meeting with the eldership for warm and frank discussions, the church agreed to extend a call for Mr Fiddian to join us.
For many the date provided a difficult choice, in that Wales were playing in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup, but as Dr Bob Letham (West and Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales) said in the introduction to his message, there was no event more important in South Wales on that afternoon.
He preached warmly from 1 Timothy 1, emphasising that God has tied his eternal purposes to the proclamation of the gospel.
This service provided an interesting perspective on current ministry in South Wales, in that, as Emmanuel welcomed Mr Fiddian, so they also sent one of their own men, Peter Hilder, to work as pastoral assistant with the Baptist Church at Little Mill, Monmouthshire.
It is our prayer that God will use these new ministries to further the work of the gospel and Christian unity in Wales and further afield.