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Leigh Park, Havant

April 2013 | by John Goodspeed

When Glen Galbraith contacted Bethel Evangelical Free Church (EFC) early in 2012, members of Bethel EFC could hardly believe what they were being offered.
    For about 15 years the church had been seeking a pastor, but had virtually given up because it was obvious the small congregation could not raise the funds to support a full-time pastor.
    However, Mr Galbraith is supported by the Baptist Mid Mission of the US and could consider taking up the challenge of the church in Leigh Park.
    Mr Galbraith had been church planting in Westhill, Aberdeen, but felt the time had come to move on. After a number of visits to Leigh Park, he and the church were persuaded that it was right to call him to the pastorate.
    Mr Galbraith, his wife Tammy and daughter Heather moved into their Havant home at the end of February and an induction service was held on 2 March.
    At that service, the church congregation welcomed visitors from other local evangelical churches and one special guest — Jim Kerr, the evangelist who pioneered the work back in the 1950s, when the Leigh Park estate was being built.
    Leigh Park is a huge estate with a population of more than 25,000 on the edge of the Portsmouth/Havant conurbation. Initially, it accommodated people displaced from Portsmouth by the Second World War and subsequent slum clearance.
    Opening the induction service, the church expressed its gratitude to the people who have been faithful in prayer and encouraged church members not to give up.
    The men who have acted as moderators — Eric Lane, David Whitmarsh and Chris Hughes — and others who have been willing to come to preach to the small congregation were also thanked.
    After the act of induction, David Abernethie brought useful ministry from how Jehoshaphat reacted when confronted by threatening tribes. He showed how that situation had a lot in common with what Glen and Bethel face now, and what a good example Jehoshaphat was, not least in giving all the glory to God.
John Goodspeed

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