On Sunday 14 July, a day of thanksgiving was held at Central Baptist Church, Walthamstow, for Pastor Roger Neil ahead of his retirement at the end of August.
Mr Neil was saved at university while training as a teacher. He and his wife Pat joined Sutton Bonington Baptist Church, where they learnt much under the leadership of Rev. John Blanshard, and Roger became a deacon.
During this time, the call to ministry grew and Roger and Pat moved to London so that he could attend London Bible College. Then, in 1984, Mr Neil accepted a call to the pastorate at Chingford Mount Baptist Church, London.
They served at Chingford for 16 years and saw the church grow. In December 2000, they moved on to Walthamstow, where Pastor Neil has served faithfully for nearly 13 years. His wife Pat has been church administrator and treasurer since retiring as a primary school deputy head.
Rev. Richard Underwood, pastoral director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, preached at the morning service. This was followed by a lunch for the whole church, plus some former members and Pastor Neil’s family and friends.
Over 140 people attended the lunch. We praise God that there was enough food for everyone and lovely weather, so that we could use the garden.
After lunch, a thanksgiving service was held. This was chaired by our new pastor, Robert Jeffery. One of Central’s deacons, Jim Moore, presented a review of Pastor Neil’s ministry. Pastor Neil then gave a prayer of thanksgiving.
Mr Underwood preached on the theme of ‘Finishing well’, from 2 Timothy 4:1-8. He encouraged us that we have a life worth giving, a race worth running, and a Lord worth loving.
Pastor Neil graciously helped the church to prepare for his retirement and the appointment of Robert Jeffery as successor pastor in September 2012. We are delighted that Roger and Pat will be remaining as active members of the church once they retire.