Sunderland Free Church
Saturday 10 May was a significant day in the life of Sunderland Free Church (SFC) when Gary McKee was ordained to the gospel ministry. Gary is the church’s first full-time pastor since the mid 1990s. In the intervening years SFC has experienced considerable decline and currently around ten people meet regularly for Sunday worship.
The service began with a rousing rendition of the hymn ‘Immortal honours rest on Jesus’ head’. Rev. George Curry, minister of Elswick Parish Church in Newcastle, opened in prayer. Phil Arthur, a founding member of SFC, gave the congregation some background to the church’s history.
Richard Morley, church secretary, then gave a brief account of Gary’s call as pastor. Gary came to Sunderland in September 2006 as a full-time church worker; the church elected him as pastor this February. Gary replied by acknowledging God’s leading and expressing his desire to feed the people of God with his Word as the primary means to build up the church.
Greetings were brought by James Logan of Newtownards Congregational Church, Gary’s home church. Pastor Logan then put questions to Gary and led in the ordination prayer. The charge to pastor and church was brought by Dr Eryl Davies, past principal of ETCW (now WEST).
Dr Davies preached on Proverbs 3:5-6 and encouraged all to trust in God because of who God is, his power and his care. It was encouraging to be reminded that ‘the Lord will direct your path’. Alan Brunton, pastor of Langley Park Baptist Church closed the service in prayer.
The service was followed by a buffet tea. It was really encouraging to see the main hall well filled. SFC would like to thank individuals, trusts and churches who have contributed to Gary’s support over the past eighteen months and pledged to do so in the future.