Selhurst minister retires
Over 150 friends, family and members of the congregation praised God for nearly 40 years of faithful service by the Rev. Winston Saunders, retiring minister of Selhurst Evangelical Church, in South Norwood.
Pastor Saunders, who has been the under-shepherd at Selhurst since 1970, gave a moving testimony to God’s calling and continual presence in the work at the church.
Church secretary Ken King welcomed guests from as far afield as Scotland and Eastbourne, who came to thank God for 39 years of ministry from Rev. Saunders and his wife, Jacquie.
In his report, Mr King said: ‘God knew best in giving us this pastor. He is not only spiritual but practical and thoughtful, and has based his teaching and his living on the Word of God. He prayed for his people regularly, and they prayed for him. God in his wisdom has blessed us’.
Before heading into the ministry, Pastor Saunders, who was saved when he was just ten, trained as a stockbroker in the City, but said he always felt God had some greater work for him to do.
Taking as his texts Deuteronomy 8:2 and Genesis 32:29 (‘And thou shalt remember all the way that the Lord thy God led thee these 40 years’ and ‘And he blessed him there’), Rev. Saunders expressed gratitude for all the godly men and women who went from Selhurst to the mission field or become pastors of their own churches.
‘All the way, the Lord has led us’, he said, telling of the Lord’s provision of every single penny towards a new church building in the 1990s after the church had outgrown its current premises (helped by squirrels that started off the demolition of the hall roof!).
Winston Saunders spoke of his early days visiting schools and reform centres, and his own spiritual battles including six months of being unable to speak owing to vocal cord damage. ‘I was utterly broken-hearted not to be able to preach. Yet in all these situations God had the victory’, he said.
He paid lavish tribute to his wife, Jacquie: ‘He who finds a wife has a good thing. Jacquie and I are a team and I thank God that we have been able to exalt his name together’.
Rev. David Levell, pastor of Pantiles Baptist Church and former member of Selhurst, took the sermon, preaching from 1 Thessalonians 1:2. He presented the five ‘E’s of Mr Saunders’ ministry – edifying, enlivening, exemplary, encouraging and enduring. Robert Pickering, who has been trained by Rev. Saunders to take over the ministry of Selhurst, is being inducted on 27 February.