Rev. Eric J. Alldritt
My pastoral responsibility at Lake Road Congregational Church is now ended. This church in Keswick began in 1654 and since then has, by the grace of God, maintained a witness to the Reformed faith of our founding fathers.
The work declined in the closing decade of the twentieth century until, by 1999, it was thought it would end and its attractive Victorian building close. It was at this point that Rev. Bill Dyer, then minister of Pontefract Congregational Church, asked if I would consider taking on the work to see if the Lord would revive the remnant.
When Maer and I moved to Keswick in May 1999 we made a membership of five people, with a local congregation of about 15 altogether. For a time we met in an upper room and, before the year’s end, several other folk had joined us.
We moved into the chapel building and, from then on, though the local membership remained comparatively small, the number of holiday visitors increased wonderfully.
This has been our thirteenth year in Keswick and, at the age of 75, the time has arrived to lay down the burden of pastoral responsibility. This is also the close of a period of 54 years of continuous work in Christian ministry.
We began our first church in Crowborough, East Sussex, followed by a brief period with the European Missionary Fellowship in Portugal. On our return to England, I pastored Mount Road Baptist Chapel, Hinckley, and moved further north to Newark-on-Trent, from where we moved to Keswick.
My late father-in-law once commented he thought we would end in Scotland. Well, we are but 30 miles from the border!
We have been delighted to make many godly friends from across the British Isles and indeed other countries. Mention must be made of our links formed with Christ Church of the Carolinas, USA.
They have been great and faithful friends and I have had encouraging and refreshing times preaching in that southern part of the States.
Already I have received several invitations to preach in different parts of Britain, so I am beginning to understand by experience a comment made by a Keswick Convention speaker a few years ago, ‘I think this retirement business requires a younger person’.
My faithful and dedicated wife joins with me in that wonderful hymn, ‘How good is the God we adore. We will praise him for all that is past and trust him for all that’s to come’.