Hope for Gravesend
The opening of a new chapter for Hope Church, Gravesend, was marked on 11 October 2008 with a welcome service for its new pastor, Dr Stephen Lloyd.
The elders briefly recounted the history of the church and the Lord’s guidance in calling Stephen. Responding, Stephen explained how he and his wife Hannah had become convinced of God’s call to Hope. Stephen has a background in scientific research at Cambridge University. He remained in Cambridge, partly for theological training, before gaining pastoral experience as assistant to Robin Dowling at Pendennis Evangelical Church, Bristol.
Robin (now of High Road Baptist Church, Finchley, and Oak Hill College), preaching from 2 Timothy 2, charged both pastor and congregation to be gentle in all our dealings with people. David Chapman (Association of Grace Baptist Churches, SE) and Martyn Hallett (Goldington Evangelical Church, Bedford, and a trustee of Biblical Creation Ministries) led the congregation in prayer.
The church in Gravesend was established from 1987 through the ministry of Simon Bowkett. From 1992, as Hope Reformed Baptist Church, the infant church sought to make a stand for biblical truth in the face of denominational compromise – facing the loss of church building, pastor’s salary and manse.
God faithfully provided for the pastor and his family and opened the way for the congregation to renovate a derelict chapel in the town. Simon moved on to church planting work in Llandeilo in 2004 and, until Stephen’s arrival, the congregation received pastoral oversight and ministry from the existing eldership.
Stephen’s new ministry will run alongside his work with Biblical Creation Ministries. This group encourages research that provides a scientific account of the earth’s history consistent with the biblical narrative.
Simon Hindson and Mike Fryer