February 14th, 2017

AIPM at St. Andrew’s Community Church, Tilbury, London – 2002 to 2003

By: Chuck McComb

St. Andrew’s Community Church in Tilbury on the east side of London in the docks area was a local ecumenical partnership Baptist/Methodist church. St. Andrews’ was a church plant that was done by some Missouri Baptists and the Eastern Baptist Association in the UK. The church had done very well the previous 6-years under the leadership of a Baptist pastor, Bob Edwards (wife: Sue). Sadly, when Bob was called to a church much farther north, many of the key leaders left St. Andrews. In October 2003, St. Andrew’s invited Shannon Duncan from Charlotte, NC to serve as interim pastor. As mentioned in the report on Milnsbridge, Shannon’s wife, Tillie, is on staff at a Baptist church in NC and cannot accompany Shannon on out-of-town assignments.

St. Andrew's Community Church

Shannon had a good ministry at St. Andrews, but soon recognized that with the leaving of so many of the leadership, continuing ministry would be very difficult. In early 2004, the Methodists who owned the property announced that the building would require GBP 50,000 for upgrades to meet insurance requirements. The Methodists could not afford that expenditure nor could the local congregation so the church closed. It is significant that the Regional Minister of the Easter Baptist Association, Paul Hills, made it a point to tell me (Chuck McComb) that the closure of St. Andrew’s was in no way a reflection on Shannon Duncan or his ministry over the 6-month assignment.

Shannon Duncan

Shannon served at Tilbury from October until December 2003 and went home for a few days over Christmas. He returned in early January and served until March 2004. We praise the Lord that Shannon was able to purchase his own tickets to and from Tilbury as well as those for his Christmas trip home. When St. Andrew’s Community Church closed, we believe that the Baptists went to other Baptist churches and the Methodists went to other Methodist churches in the area.

There are many examples of the support and fellowship between churches in the UK. One involves St. Andrew’s and a sister church. Since St. Andrew’s did not have Sunday or Wednesday night services, Shannon made it a practice to walk a few miles to a nearby Baptist church for Sunday evening worship and Wednesday Bible studies and prayer meetings. That church is Sockett’s Heath and the pastor at that time was John Ireland. Interestingly, Sockett’s Heath supported the St. Andrew’s ministry by providing the manse and utilities at Tilbury! We are grateful to John Ireland and Socket’s Heath for their financial support and for making Shannon feel welcome and sharing fellowship with him the entire time he was at Tilbury.

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