Ashbourne Baptist Church
On Saturday 18 September, a welcome and induction service took place for Nathan Clarke as the new associate pastor for Ashbourne Baptist Church (ABC), in the Derbyshire dales.
This special event was celebrated by members and regular worshippers at ABC, together with pastors and friends from the town and local evangelical churches. Friends and family also came from Mr Clarke’s first church, Waterford House Evangelical Free Church in Strood, and from his previous church, Littleworth in Stafford, where he had served as an elder.
ABC was planted on 18 April 2004 as a new evangelical witness in the town. From the start, it has met in the unusual venue of the Empire Ballroom (a cinema until its closure in 1956). The hall continues to provide excellent facilities for church activities.
Mr Clarke recently resigned from his secular part-time position as an optometrist, enabling him to devote more time to the Lord’s work. He is undertaking distance learning with WEST and this will continue part-time so that he can complete his studies.
Mr Clarke has experience of evangelistic outreach and Christian leadership roles, for example at Manchester University and serving as chaplain of the 2nd Strood Boys’ Brigade. He also served for several months in South India at Tamil Baptist Church, Chennai, preaching and teaching on a regular basis. He and his wife, Rachel, have a one-year-old son, Isaac.
The service was led by David Killer, an elder of the church, who also gave a brief history of ABC and the call of the Clarkes. The pastor of Littleworth Church, Matthew Richer, brought a commendation.
Rev. Dr Gareth Crossley, a founder of ABC, gave the address, speaking on Acts 20:18. He charged the elders to ‘pay heed’ to themselves, their personal and family lives, relationships and preaching. He then addressed those present, encouraging the church using Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 5:17.
We are eager to see what the Lord will do in the town and there is excitement and expectation about the forthcoming months and years. We thank God for answering our prayers and continue to pray that Mr Clarke may be used mightily to further the Lord’s work in Ashbourne and district.