My last post shared about my memory bank being happily opened in a carpark. Yesterday, I discovered something else that happened...... on Saturday 17th September 1994. It was my first year as Principal at Spurgeon's College and one of my new responsibilities was to conduct ordination and sometimes induction services of students who had settled in their first churches. I remember it was a hectic Summer and it turns out that I had five such services in September alone.
Yesterday, in an old file, I found some details about them including some printed orders of service. Now, I can remember the students themselves (sometimes vividly) but I confess I could not be sure when and with whom I was actually involved in their ministry beginnings. But there in black and white were the details for 17th September at Stradbroke Baptist Church where my own minister who has just retired was ordained by me! Ron and Gill Day made their vows (with a special vow of commitment of the Minister's wife) at the beginning of their ministry in Stradbroke before moving to Histon Baptist Church in 2001 where they both ministered until retirement. At the back of my mind I had a picture of being involved but now I know.
I preached on Rev. 3:7-13 focusing on verse 8: See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. Written originally to a small community with little strength but which has been faithful, this is the most positive of the seven letters in Revelation. The picture of the open door suggests two journeys. One - IN into God's promises which Jesus unlocks with a triumphant universal YES. In the face of an uncaring world and negatives all around, we trust in God's promises. On my ordination I received a card: 'The Lord bless you more than you deserve and as much as you can take'. Two - OUT, into God's world. It's a temptation to close the door on the world's noise and hostility. But Jesus calls us to go through the door of mission and service in his courage and love. You can imagine how the challenge went!
What thrills me reading back about this, is that I have been present as a church member as Ron and Gill have moved to retirement and I have witnessed their ministry going in and out of the open door for all of us in Histon. Their story of ministry has ended so well...and who knows what doors may yet be open. It is still true for them: The Lord bless you more than you deserve and as much as you can take'.