On Sunday 15 October 2017, the induction took place of Joe Bannister to the pastorate at Jubilee Baptist Church, Occold, in Suffolk.
More than 200 people gathered in Occold village hall, where space was at a premium and some had no choice but to stand. It was a gorgeously warm autumnal day, so the patio doors could be opened, allowing worshippers outside the building to feel included as well.
The service was chaired by David Steere, who has been a great help as moderator to first Grove Evangelical Church and then Jubilee Baptist Church (JBC) in the village over many years. David also conducted the charge to the pastor and to the church. Robert Powell, secretary of JBC, shared how the church had come to invite Mr Bannister.
Other candidates had been considered, some from much further afield. In the end, God’s man for us was serving as an elder in the church at Stoke Ash, just a few miles away — right on our doorstep!
Mr Bannister shared some of his spiritual background and story. He firmly believed God had led him to the church at Occold and was excited at the prospect of working with the church in the community.
Jon Steed, a fellow elder at Stoke Ash, preached on Joshua 1:9, with helpful references from Isaiah 40-43 and Judges 6-7. He encouraged us to look to the creator God who makes himself known, and to be strong in the Lord and the power of his might. Mr Steed powerfully applied these things to Mr Bannister and his family, to the church family and the wider congregation.
It was a great time of rejoicing and praising God together. Please remember Mr Bannister, his wife Jules and their children, Oakley, Teddy and Jimmy, in your prayers.