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News – Banbury Evangelical Free Church

April 2009 | by David Umpleby

Banbury Evangelical Free Church


It was a blessed day in the life of Banbury Evangelical Free Church, when about 160 gathered on Saturday 24 January to witness the induction of David Cooke as pastor.

     The service was attended by friends from a wide area. Some of those present had assisted the church in preaching during the past eighteen months. The church had been without a pastor since July 2007, when its previous pastor, Robert Strivens, stepped down prior to his appointment as principal of London Theological Seminary. Mr Strivens had served as pastor for the previous nine years.

     David Cooke trained as a chartered accountant and later studied at London Reformed Baptist Seminary for three years. Thereafter, he served as pastor at Albert Street Chapel in Oxford for seventeen years, while continuing to run a part-time accountancy practice. He was one of the pastors who ministered at Banbury during the interregnum.

     Having sensed that his work at Albert Street was coming to an end, Mr Cooke responded positively to an invitation to consider Banbury. Over the next few months the Banbury church, and David and his wife Jenny, became increasingly aware that this was God’s leading and the answer to their prayers.

     Pastor Keith Stokes (Oxford) chaired the service and conducted the induction. David Umpleby (Banbury elder) gave the history of the call. In response David Cooke accepted the call to be under-shepherd and to preach the whole counsel of God.

     Pastor Paul Watts (Coventry) preached on 2 Corinthians 4:7: ‘But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.’ The text was considered in three ways – what is the treasure; where is the treasure; and why is the treasure where it is.

     The church was exhorted to pray for power in the Word, passion in the Word, that the Word should be prophetic, and that God should have glory in all things.

     The service was followed by a splendid buffet tea and fellowship together.

David Umpleby

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