Bounds Cross, Biddenden
On Saturday 12 March a recognition service was held at Ebenezer Baptist Chapel to mark the goodness of our faithful God in the call of Philip J. D. Hopkins to the pastorate. We were encouraged by the good number of friends who gathered from near and far.
Philip’s father, Phillip Hopkins, who retired from the pastorate at the end of last year having faithfully served the church for 25 years, opened the meeting in prayer. Leslie Jarvis (Hailsham) read the Scriptures from John 1:1-42. Pastor Norman Hopkins (Strood) led the congregation in prayer.
During the service Paul Hopkins, on behalf of the church, gave a brief overview of the 130 year history of the church and its pastors, within the context of Jeremiah 3:15, pointing out that pastors are God’s gift to his people.
He also referred to Philip’s call to the pastorate. In response, Philip spoke of a sense of entering into other men’s labours, and the importance of continuing a faithful gospel witness in the locality and seeking God’s honour, recognising that ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it’.
Behold the Lamb!
Pastor David Cooke (Banbury) preached from John 1:29. He noted at the outset what thrilling words these ought to be for us as well — that God has sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.
Bearing in mind the context of our meeting, David spoke of John the Baptist as an excellent model for a Christian minister. Expanding on this theme, he focused on John’s message as a message for the church and John’s mission as the mission of the whole church to the world.
He concluded by reminding us of our need to come back to this text —’Behold the Lamb of God’. We should remember Christ’s great sacrifice upon the cross, realise afresh that it was for our sins that he must suffer, recognise we are totally unworthy of his favour, and, in the light of that, humbly seek to make him known.
In the words of Charles Wesley, let it be all our business here below to cry ‘Behold the Lamb!’
Our desire as a congregation is that Philip will know God’s help in a special way in the work the Lord has called him to do, remembering also Philip’s wife Natasha and his children, Elizabeth, Phillip and James. We look to the Lord for his richest blessing and would indeed value your prayers for us.