September 3rd, 2011

Four Interim Pastor Assignments in Seven Years

By: Chuck McComb

Darrell Grice (wife, Faith) has had four interim pastor assignments in the UK in seven years. We asked Darrell and Faith to comment on their experiences in these four churches. A common thread in their assessment, “What a joy it was to serve these loving, responsive and committed congregations. We made many dear friends during our interim in these churches and continue to keep in touch with them. Faith and I have been blessed beyond measure.”

Darrell and Faith Grice
Richardson, Texas

The first AIPM assignment for Darrell and Faith came in 2004 when they answered the call to go to Milnsbridge Baptist Church in Milnsbridge, just outside Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. This was an exciting six months as they were able to help the congregation move into their new building.

Milnsbridge Baptist Church–New Building

The original 150 year old Milnsbridge Baptist Church building had developed structural problems and had to be demolished in 2002. Loss of that building did not stop their regular Sunday worship, however. They simply moved into the community center and kept on going.

Darrell said, “We will never forget the day over a hundred people marched from the town center through downtown to the new building following a brass band and banners to a grand celebration.” Darrell and Faith as well as the Milnsbridge Baptist church folk greatly appreciate the Grice’s home church, The Heights Baptist in Richardson, Texas, purchasing the new chairs for the worship center. Darrell reported that all those chairs were filled on that dedication day! Darrell and Faith were glad to be a part of this fellowship as they moved toward their goal (and the goal of AIPM) of calling a full-time British Baptist pastor which was accomplished in 2005.

Grand Opening–Milnsbridge Baptist Church’s New Building

In 2005, Darrell was invited to serve as interim pastor for the Hamsterley and Wolsingham Baptist churches in central County Durham. All of us Americans stand in awe when we consider that Hamsterley was established in 1652 and that was only about 40 years following the very first Baptist church in Britain! We understand that Hamsterley was planted by Stocksfield Baptist church some 30 miles north. We marvel at the missionary mindset of those godly people. A 30 mile journey can’t have been easy in those days! This was a very special assignment for the Grice’s. The village of Hamsterley (about 600 people) gave Darrell and Faith the opportunity to get well acquainted and to fellowship and share Bible studies with many non-Baptists.

Hamsterley Baptist Church Manse and Chapel

Just five miles north along a most scenic drive is Wolsingham (about 3000 people) where they also ministered each Sunday afternoon and each Wednesday.

Wolsington Village–County Durham

Wolsington Baptist Church

Their third American Interim Pastor assignment came in 2007 at Zion Baptist Church in Mirfield near Huddersfield. Again, they were received enthusiastically by a very loving and supportive congregation. The church had worked hard to prepare the manse, secure a car, and be ready to move forward. Faith said, “It is amazing how strong relationships can be made in such a few months but that is exactly what happens.” The Grice’s continue to communicate with this Church as well as the other British churches they have served and receive their monthly newsletters. In 2008, Zion Baptist Church grew strong enough to call a part-time British pastor. Darrell and Faith as well as Zion’s other two American Interim Pastor couples, Tom and Lorraine Roote (Atlanta, Georgia) and Harlan and Joann Spurgeon (Springfield, Missouri) are most grateful for that.

Zion Baptist Church–Mirfield, West Yorkshire

Zion’s main worship center became too large for the smaller congregation of the 1970’s and was torn down. From that time the fellowship has met in the church hall which serves multiple purposes ranging from Sunday worship to weekday fellowship meals.

Zion Baptist Church Worship Center and Church Hall

Darrell’s fourth interim pastor assignment was completed in July 2011. He and Faith served at Middlesbrough Baptist Church in Cambridge Road from March to July 2011. This church was the birthplace of American Interim Pastor Ministries in 2000.

Middlesbrough Baptist Church–Cambridge Road–July 2011

This fine church had recently been severely hurt by its previous minister and was in a grieving process when Darrell and Faith arrived. Blessed with strong leaders and strong faith in the Lord, Middlesbrough Baptist moved speedily forward and past the hurt. Darrell and Faith were delighted to be a part of this resurgence and help them get ready to call their next full-time British Baptist minister. Middlesbrough Baptist began the process by adopting a church profile before the Grice’s left and the deacons are getting ready to consider potential candidates.

Middlesbrough Baptist Congregation–before worship service–July 2011

Darrell said that he and Faith will watch with great anticipation how God is going to use Middlesbrough Baptist in the years ahead to reach this part of His vineyard for Christ and His Kingdom. Darrell and Faith reported that they were blessed beyond measure by this church and their response to their ministry. The Grice’s also formed deep friendships with people with interest in Middlesbrough Baptist but who are not a direct part of the fellowship. That in itself is a great blessing to those of us in AIPM!

Darrell and Faith closed their comments with: “We greatly appreciate AIPM making arrangements for us to serve four wonderful churches in England these past seven years. Our message to all who may be considering offering to serve as volunteers througth AIPM – DO IT! You will be blessed beyond measure and eternally grateful, as we are, for the experiences.”

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