After more than three years without a pastor, Eastney Evangelical Church (EEC), Portsmouth, has welcomed Chris Thomas to the pastorate. He served as an officer in the Royal Navy for nearly 22 years, spending some time based at the nearby Eastney Barracks.
His naval background is highly relevant in the historic naval city of Portsmouth. He became a Christian early in his career, and in 1983 Eastney Evangelical was the first church he ever attended.
Chris says he became ‘increasingly aware of a call to gospel ministry’ and retired early from the Navy. He completed a course of ministerial training at London Theological Seminary and became pastor of Bournville Evangelical Church (latterly Oak Tree Church) in Birmingham. In early 2017, circumstances resulted in Chris Thomas seeking a new sphere of ministry.
EEC knew about him (and his wife Persis) through his brother, Rod — a missionary in tsunami-torn Sendai, Japan — for many years supported by EEC. Chris’s preaching at Eastney led to a strikingly clear (and accepted) call to him to become pastor.
The induction service was a wonderfully happy occasion. Nick Roberts, a deacon with eldership responsibility, led the service and interregnum moderator Steve Bell (Grace Church, Ryde, Isle of Wight) preached on Acts 20.
EEC has a vision for gospel ministry in the heavily populated area of Eastney/Southsea, and, with other like-minded Bible churches, Portsmouth as a whole. Its vision also reaches world-wide to elsewhere in the UK, West Africa, Iraq and the Far East. As church member John Prior said when leading a recent prayer meeting, ‘May God bless the church and all who sail in her!’