Recognition at Haslemere
Hope Baptist Church, Haslemere, gave public thanks to God, on 8 October, that after nearly twelve pastor-less years the Lord has given them a pastor, Thomas Yates. The church and many visitors rejoiced in God’s goodness.
Charles Sleeman led the service, opening with an expression of thanksgiving for letters of encouragement the church had received from friends unable to be present.
Prayer and the hymn ‘All hail the power of Jesus’ name’ followed, and Geoff Marshall read the Word of God. Mr Sleeman then outlined the history of the call to the pastorate.
Mr Yates was previously an elder at Harrold and Carlton Grace Baptist Church, Bedfordshire. He had been resident in Guildford and, while there, began to preach occasionally for Hope.
The church’s need of pastoral oversight was felt keenly and the Lord’s guidance sought prayerfully. The church became aware of a unity of purpose in relation to Thomas Yates and a conviction to call him to the pastorate. This was done and Mr Yates accepted the call. His ministry began on 1 September 2011.
Called by grace
Mr Yates spoke of his call to Hope. He was called by grace to salvation while at Totton Evangelical Free Church. Later, while studying at the University of Surrey, he attended Chilworth Free Church. It was during this time that he felt called to the Lord’s work.
Throughout the subsequent years, a burden for pastoral ministry was felt, as well as an increasing affection for the people at Haslemere.
Subsequently, when receiving the call from Hope he believed, with the support of his wife Margaret, that God was answering his prayer to undertake this work.
Peter Fenne took the chair for the installation of the pastor and addressed serious questions to both pastor and church. These were answered and Dr Stephen Scott-Pearson offered prayer for God’s blessing on pastor and people.
The charge to the pastor — from Acts 20:17-38 — was given by Robert Cordle, pastor of Harrold and Carlton Grace Baptist Church. Its theme was ‘Becoming a beloved pastor like the apostle Paul’.
Peter Fenne, pastor of Chilworth Free Church, gave the charge to the church, taking Hebrews 12:2 as his text: ‘Looking unto Jesus’. After the service, many friends enjoyed fellowship and a fine tea prepared by the ladies.
Pastor Yates has undertaken a difficult task: a small church and pioneering evangelism in dark days for biblical Christianity, but our prayer is that God will supply all our needs and glorify his name in Haslemere.