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Binfield Heath Congregational Church induction

March 2020 | by Ken Gaines

Stephen Palmer SOURCE Henley Standard
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Binfield Heath Chapel in South Oxfordshire was full on 4 January for the induction of new minister, Stephen Palmer.

This small village church had been without a pastor for 18 months since Thomas Brand left to become Ministry Director of Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches (EFCC).

After considering several applicants for the part-time post without success, the church’s attention was drawn to a young man seeking to serve the Lord through ministry.

Stephen, 35, was raised in a small village where his father was pastor of an evangelical church. In 2003, he became convicted of sin and on return to university he repented and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.

In 2005, he graduated with a BA (Hons) degree and in the same year joined Woodstock Road Baptist Church, Oxford. Here he was encouraged to pursue his desire to serve the Lord and gained considerable experience in preaching, open-air witnessing, and church planting.

He was thoroughly recommended by his pastors and church, who ordained him on 8 December 2019.

Stephen and his wife Hannah have four children and moved into the church’s refurbished manse in December.

Taking part in the service were the elders, Ken Gaines and Ninion Lowis, EFCC representatives Bob Cotton and Tom Brand, Woodstock Road Minister Andy Robinson, and David Magowan, co-pastor of Carey Baptist Church, Reading.

It was Carey Church that came to the rescue when Binfield Heath Chapel nearly closed in 2008 due to the diminished congregation. Some Carey members even migrated to help form a viable congregation.

The Lord has singularly blessed this vision, and a house was gifted to the church to serve as a manse. The membership now stands at 20, ranging in age from 21 to 100. The average Sunday morning congregation is now 30 plus. To God be the glory!

Ken Gaines