Welcome to Walthamstow
On Saturday 15 September, about 200 people gathered at Central Baptist Church, Walthamstow, for the ordination and induction of Robert Jeffery.
Mr Jeffery had been in membership at Thornton Heath Evangelical Church for many years, having spent about seven years working for the church, before embarking on training for pastoral ministry at London Theological Seminary in October 2010.
The service was led by the current pastor of Central Baptist, Roger Neil, who had initiated the process of seeking a new pastor, in preparation for his retirement after 12 years at Central. Pastor Jeffery will work alongside Pastor Neil until August 2013.
Mr Jim Moore, a deacon at Central, reported on how the church had begun its search for a pastor. He explained the leadership ‘had a real sense of responsibility before God’ that the man recommended to them should not only ‘rightly divide the Word of truth’ and lead, but should love and care for them as an under-shepherd.
He said Mr Jeffery had been the first candidate Central had heard, and they had been impressed by his clarity in preaching and his interest in people. They had therefore started the process of clarifying biblical views and practices and enabling the church and candidate to get to know each other.
Mr Jeffery then spoke, explaining how he had enjoyed preaching at various churches during his training, but had immediately felt on visiting Central that this was a possible church for him. He was grateful to God that his wife Helen was at one with him, and their children Emily, Katy and Joshua were settling in so well.
Colin Appleton, a deacon at Thornton Heath, prayed and brought greetings and a commendation from their pastor, Gordon Bull, and the church.
The ordination and induction was conducted by Richard Underwood, pastoral director of the FIEC — to which both Central and Thornton Heath belong. Mr Underwood had been a great help in advising the leadership at Central on finding the right man for the church.
Dr David Green, vice-principal at London Theological Seminary, preached on Isaiah 55, reminding us that we should be encouraged because: God has spoken (vv. 1-5); we are compelled to speak (vv. 6-7); and when God speaks, people listen (vv. 11-13).
After greetings from local churches, there was a tea in the hall, when members of Thornton Heath, Central, other local churches, friends and family had an enjoyable time of fellowship and some lovely food.
Central looks to the future with confidence that, ‘He who began a good work in [them] will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:6).