August 2nd, 2014

Fifth UK Interim Pastor Assignment for Grice’s–Bootle Evangelical Church, Cumbria

By: Chuck McComb

Darrell and Faith Grice are not rookies at either ministry or serving in UK churches. Darrell was in full-time ministry in churches in Florida and Texas from his graduation from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary until his retirement in 1997. His last full-time assignment was at The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas where he began serving in 1979.

Darrell and Faith Grice, Richardson, TX July '14

Darrell and Faith stayed in high gear even after his retirement. They have been heavily involved in the missions ministry of The Heights and have taken 16 mission trips to Bulgaria alone. In 2013 the Northern Baptist Association in England and AIPM joined together to send the Grice’s to Lithuania for 6 weeks to help the Lithuanian Baptist Convention

Over the past 10 years Darrell and Faith served in Milnsbridge, Hamsterley/Wolingsham, Mirfield and Middlesbrough Baptist churches in the UK. On 19 July 2014 they arrived in Bootle in Cumbria where Darrell became the first American interim pastor to serve that fellowship.

Darrell and Faith were married just as soon as he graduated from the University of Corpus Christi, Texas. They celebrated 60 years of marriage in May 2014! The week of Darrell’s university graduation, God called him for service at First Baptist, Weslaco, Texas. From that date until his retirement there was not one day that he was not serving on a church’s staff.

Bootle Evangelical Church (on left) in Cumbria

The long serving and dearly loved pastor of Bootle Evangelical Church, James Thomas, passed away in October 2013. What a great loss to the church and community that was. As the congregation at BEC began to think about a new pastor they learned that American Interim Pastor Ministries could make available volunteer pastors on six-month assignments to help fill the gap.

The folk at Bootle Evangelical church developed a list of traits that they desired to have in an interim pastor. They listed: 1. Evangelism, 2. Community Activities and Presence, 3. Preaching and Leading, 4. Teaching and 5. Counseling. Darrell and Faith are both well and truly equipped with these traits.

Darrell and Faith were tremendously pleased to read in the Bootle church’s profile, “God is very much present in our church, as has been noted by several of our visiting speakers. Ours is a Bible believing church and a large percentage of the members have a very strong faith. The church wants to continue to move on and to grow in number, and to maintain its relevance within the village. We also want to grow our numbers from within the parish as well as maintain our loyal members from outside the parish.”

According to the Bootle church profile, the church was saved from closure approximately fifteen years ago, by the efforts of the then congregation and Rural Ministries. Since then, there have been two pastors, partly funded by Rural Ministries and partly by the church. James Thomas, the second of two pastors began his ministry at BEC in 2004.

Pastor James served as the Chair of Governors for the primary school in the village and helped the local people save their school from closure. It is not surprising that his passing hit the church and community very hard.

Bootle Evangelical Church Manse and Car

As noted above Rural Ministries has a 15-year history with Bootle Evangelical Church. Rural Ministries is an evangelical mission agency in the UK. They have established partnerships with a number of churches across Britain. The thing that unites Rural Ministries and their partner churches is a desire to share resources so that there is an ongoing witness to Jesus Christ in rural Britain. They work alongside a variety of churches and denominations. Rural Ministries is directed by a counsel consisting of respected leaders from a variety of denominational backgrounds. Their Chief Executive is Rev. Simon Mattholie, former pastor of Saffron Walden Baptist Church in the UK.

Simon Mattholie, Chief Executive, Rural Ministries

Bootle is located on the western edge of the beautiful English Lake District and is just a few miles from the Irish Sea Coast. This Bootle is to be distinguished from the Bootle near Liverpool. The town of Millom is south of Bootle and Whitehaven is to the north.

According to the BEC profile, the civil parish of Bootle consists of just under 400 homes, and includes the main village, Bootle Station / Hycemoor, Eskmeals, and numerous hamlets (collection of between three and twenty houses). There are thirteen new houses being built within the village. Planning permission has been granted for a further 43 houses just outside the village on a former army base. Most people in Bootle know each other, and there are several large extended local families.

A tour of Bootle village including the Church at No. 1 Chapel Lane can be found on Google Earth at:,-3.3718716,226m/data=!3m1!1e3

We in AIPM are excited about the opportunity to serve our Lord alongside the good people of Bootle and to be in this partnership arrangement with Rural Ministries. We are praying hard for this work and looking forward to seeing how the Lord blesses and grows this church.

The Grice’s have been made to feel very welcome in Bootle as these photos show!

Grice's and a few members BEC at Welcome Supper

Darrell and Faith at home in BEC Manse

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