Sidcup Free Grace Baptist Church
There was a sense of anticipation and joy on the evening of Friday 1 July when Pastor Mark Gladwell was formally inducted to the pastorate of Sidcup Free Grace Baptist Church (FGBC), having commenced his ministry there on 1 June.
Pastor Gladwell and his wife Marilyn had been received into membership on the first Sunday in June, and Smudge, Marilyn’s guide dog, was already at home and a great favourite with members and children alike.
The evening was chaired by Pastor John Graham, moderator of the Covenant Bible Church, Streatham, and greetings were brought by Paul Orchard, the secretary of Belvedere Free Grace Baptist Church, Kent, where Mark Gladwell had served previously.
Graham Spavin, elder at Sidcup FGBC, outlined the history of the call. He explained how, since its inception just under four years ago, the church had been praying that God would provide a pastor, despite small numbers and the non-exclusive use of rented premises. Mr Spavin outlined why they had felt it right to approach Mr Gladwell.
In response, Mark told how he and Mrs Gladwell had been seeking the Lord’s will since leaving Belvedere, and explained how the Lord had guided him through a number of opportunities.
Some of these were, humanly speaking, more attractive positions, but they became convinced the Lord’s will was that he should take up what is, in effect, a pioneering pastorate in nearby Sidcup.
The formal act of induction and the charge to the church were undertaken by Peter Andrews, formerly of Ridley Hall Evangelical Church, Battersea, London, who spoke of the need for church and pastor to be united in doctrine and purpose, and of the support a church should give to its pastor and his family.
The charge to the pastor was given by Geoff Gobbett, formerly of Highbury Baptist Church, London, who urged his friend and colleague in the Lord to lead the flock faithfully in word and deed, being conscious that his life should be an open book.
As a church, we thank God for his abundant provision of an experienced pastor and pray God will bless the work, as we seek to serve him in this relatively affluent but spiritually bankrupt area of suburban south-east London.