February 2nd, 2017

AIPM at Henley-in-Arden Baptist Church 2005 to 2011

By: Chuck McComb

AIPM began at Henley-in-Arden Baptist Church (HBC) in October 2005. HBC folk had considered AIPM for a year, but were concerned about the frequent turnover of interim pastors. They had 7 couples serve with the last one finishing in March 2011. One couple served almost 2-years. The others served in 6-month assignments. HBC made good progress during the 5 plus years and 3 adults were baptized. Circumstances in the church altered near the end of AIPM’s service such that they had sufficient funds available to call a British pastor. AIPM’s goal is to help UK churches until they can afford a UK pastor and then we go and help others try to achieve that goal.

Henley-in-Arden Baptist Church

The first American couple to serve was Ed and Linda Sullivan from Granbury, TX. Ed is retired from the US Air Force. Ed and Linda served many years as active laypersons at Acton Baptist Church, Acton, TX.

Ed and Linda Sullivan

Charles and Pat Boyd from Springfield, MO followed the Sullivan’s at HBC. Charles was a retired professor of business courses at Missouri State University. Charles and Pat served faithfully in lay roles at Second Baptist Church, Springfield before and after serving at Henley. Charles went to his reward in heaven several years after serving at Henley.

Charles and Pat Boyd

Dick and Nadine Harmon from Stafford, VA followed the Boyd’s at HBC. Dick served many years as pastor of Baptist churches in California and more recently on staff at a large Baptist church in Stafford, VA. Dick and Nadine’s ministry at HBC was interrupted by illness of Nadine’s father. The HBC folk were gracious and supportive of Dick and Nadine as they returned to the USA to minister to family and then return to Henley. The Harmon’t time at Henley from start to finish was almost 2-years.

Dick and Nadine Harmon

Jerry and Judy Lloyd from Pittsburg, Kansas served next at HBC. Jerry served many years as a bi-vocational pastor while earning a living as an electrician.

Jerry and Judy Lloyd

John and Jan Ward from Lake Jackson, TX had their second AIPM assignment at HBC. They had served a 6-month assignment at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Skegness the year before. John had recently retired from a 30 plus year career as an engineer at Dow Chemical Company. John and Jan have been very active laypersons at First Baptist Church, Lake Jackson for many years. Jan served a number of years on the FBC staff as Children’s Minister. John and Jan and the HBC Church Secretary, Wendy Gregory, traveled to Blaengraw, Wales to talk to the leadership of that church about AIPM. They perceived great interest in AIPM, but in the final analysis the Blaengraw folk did not believe that they could meet the financial requirements

John and Jan Ward

Jim and Carroll Fox from Las Cruses, NM followed the Ward’s at HBC. Jim served with the US Government’s Bureau of Land Management and as a US Army Reserve Officer before retirement. Jim and Carroll were active workers in a number of churches over the years. Upon arriving in Las Cruses, NM in 2004 they became and remain faithful members of Calvary Baptist Church.

Jim and Carroll Fox

The 7th and final American couple to serve at HBC was Gerald and Liz Craft from Pensacola, FL. Gerald had a distinguished career as a Chaplain in the US Army before his retirement. He and Liz are active members of First Baptist Church, Pensacola. The Craft’s happened to be in Henley-in-Arden on Armistice Day, November 11, 2010. Gerald was invited to bring the message as the community honored their veterans.

Gerald and Liz Craft

The experience and background of the 7 couples that served at Henley-in-Arden reflects the diversity of AIPM candidates. They had serve them: a US Air Force pilot, a university professor, a retired pastor, an electrician, a retired engineer, a Bureau of Land Management manager and a retired US Army Chaplain. God is able to use all kinds to advance His Kingdom and we praise His Name for the opportunity.

I have asked couples that served in the UK churches to comment on these “Completed Ministries” articles on AIPM’s web site. John and Jan Ward provided the following regarding Henley-in-Arden:

Henley-in-Arden is located in the Cotswolds area, one of England’s most classic historic areas.

The residents and members of the church are rightfully proud of their heritage and the beautiful countryside, castles, and manor-houses. Most American interim pastors grocery-shopped weekly in Stratford-upon-Avon which is about 8 miles south of Henley. Henley is about 10 miles from the ancient Warwick Castle, now operated by the National Trust like unto a theme park. From Henley, it is an easy same-day round-trip into Wales.

Henely, like the other towns and villages of the Cotswolds get beautifully decorated up for classic English celebrations.

The people feel their history and heritage keenly. The High Street (Main Street) is closed for the British Legion drum and bugle detail to parade and conduct Remembrance Day observance. These include laying the flags on the mud of the street pavement for the playing of “Last Post.”

John (and I believe the other American interim pastors) was privileged to deliver Sunday messages at Dell Court retirement center every two weeks. They also led monthly services at Hockley Heath Baptist Center and occasional services at Stock Green church. John and at least one other American interim pastor (Gerald Craft) were invited to bring the Remembrance Day message at Henley’s St. John the Divine Anglican church. John also made visits with the chaplain to Birmingham’s prison.

As a side project, John went to Birmingham’s King’s Heath church to prepare a scope of work for an American mission project team to build an entryway for Muslim women to privately come into the Baptist church premises for counseling and assistance from this Christian church. Entry via the front entrance could have caused these women serious problems.