On Saturday 24 April an emotional thanksgiving service was held to mark the retirement of Pastor David Steere, after a 34-year ministry at Fressingfield in Suffolk.
Rev. Steere, along with his wife Joyce and two young daughters, came to Fressingfield in early 1976 to a church of just nine members, four of whom either lived some distance away or were incapacitated by age.
Their welcome service took place amid tremendous gales. One of the members, Claude Burroughs, commented that wind was one of the signs of the Holy Spirit. Well, the Spirit certainly blew early upon David Steere’s ministry.
Fifteen people were baptised that year and five others joined by transfer. Within two years the membership stood at 29. Altogether, 197 people have joined the church, which has seen 137 baptisms. The membership now stands at 84. There is much for which we should praise our gracious God.
Three former members, now in the ministry, took part in the service. Greg Frost (Hadleigh) and Mark Newcombe (Somersham), who worked at Fressingfield as assistant pastors, chaired the meeting and led in prayer respectively. Colin Grimwood, who was set apart for the preaching ministry while at Fressingfield, read the Scriptures.
David Steere gave a moving report of his years at the church, commenting how costly it had been to obey God’s call to move there. However, his time had been truly happy and blessed. The church has enjoyed a remarkable degree of unity. One member even commented that what he would miss most were the church’s business meetings!
Mr Steere has been pastorally active in the life of the village, local primary school and parish council. He has maintained a good working relationship with the other two churches.
Senior deacon Peter Davidson spoke of how David Steere had encouraged the church to take many bold steps of faith. He also read out a letter from Dean Olive (Madison, USA). Joyce Steere was presented with a bouquet and expressed her gratitude at having been in such a special church. Her husband was given a painting of the chapel.
Robert Amess (Exeter) preached from Joshua 4 on the memorial stones: ‘What do these stones mean?’ They speak of a faithful people and faithful pastor, but also of the faithfulness of God, in whom we may trust for the future.