On Saturday 1 December 200 people attended the ordination and induction of Oliver Gross as minister of New Street Evangelical Church (NSEC) at Welshpool in mid-Wales. The service was held at the Welsh Congregationalists’ Chapel.
The meeting was chaired by Geoffrey Thomas (pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth). Mr Gross was converted as a student at Aberystwyth and baptised at Alfred Place in 2000. He moved to Birmingham and joined Chelmsley Wood Reformed Baptist Church (CWRBC). From there he was sent to train at London Theological Seminary.
In the induction service Robert Strivens (Principal Designate of LTS) read 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Selwyn Morgan (Barry) led in prayer.
The history of the call was recounted by David Jones and Oliver Gross responded. The congregation heard how Welshpool had benefitted from Oliver’s zealous preaching and how mutual confidence with warm affection was soon established.
Particular thanks were expressed to Stuart Olyott and Selwyn Morgan for their oversight during the interregnum. The induction was conducted by Ian Harrison of West Park Church, Wolverhampton, where Oliver Gross served for two years as trainee minister.
The laying on of hands was conducted by Ian Harrison, Geoff Thomas, David Alexander and Alec Taylor (CWRBC) and then Alec Taylor preached from 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20, particularly: ‘we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel’ (v.4).
The righteous character and gentle disposition of a faithful overseer of souls is to be accompanied by boldness and sincerity in applying the whole counsel of God. Each church member is to respect and support their overseers, and love them because of the special nature of their work (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
Reference was made during the day to the faithful labours of Gene Johnson from South Georgia, who had pioneered this church. Starting as a fellowship in the late 1980s, the congregation eventually purchased what had once been a chapel building in New Street. In 2003 the church was formally constituted with a membership and church officers.