Emmanuel Evangelical Church, Newport, has marked the retirement of Rev. Graham Harrison with a thanksgiving service for nearly 48 years of faithful ministry in the church.
Many people attended the event on a Saturday afternoon in January, coming from all around to give glory to God for this ministry. There were past and present church members, friends, family and fellow ministers, who all gathered for a time of thanksgiving for Rev. Harrison’s faithful preaching and pastoral care to so many.
Rev. Geraint Richards (former assistant minister) and Rev. Owen Griffiths spoke sincerely about their thankfulness for Mr Harrison’s lectures while they were students, his guidance and support in their respective roles, and how he highlighted his view of the ‘primacy of the gospel’ in all that he sought to do.
The three elders of the church – Phil Watson, Trevor McMillen and Ian Davies – spoke briefly on behalf of the church. Each spoke meaningfully of the way in which Mr Harrison sought to show the love of the Lord Jesus Christ in all areas of church life – its business side, spiritual concerns, and family and personal matters.
A letter was also read out from Rev. Vernon Higham, reiterating the friendship, support and spiritual help that he had received from Mr Harrison over the years.
Mr Harrison then gave his testimony, telling of his calling to the ministry and Emmanuel (which was originally Alma Street Baptist Church), and how he hadn’t then expected to still be here nearly 48 years later.
He spoke of his involvement with the relocation of the church building, when the original one was demolished during redevelopment of the area by the council. He also shared his continuing burden that the urgent need of the church and this land is a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in revival.
Rev. Stephen Clark spoke clearly and effectively on ‘What is the Christian ministry and why is it so essential?’ from 1 Corinthians 15. He emphasised that there is nothing more important than being called to the ministry and to preach the gospel. The message was a blessing to us all.
After the service everyone enjoyed a buffet tea and fellowship. The ministry of Rev. Harrison and his wife Eluned will be missed by all, but we pray that God will continue to bless and use them as he has done thus far.