Sutton Elms church is currently looking for a new minister, and during this time has appointed a voluntary Moderator, Rev John Hall. So let’s find out a bit about him
Hello John, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed.
Let’s start by you telling the readers of this blog in your own words how you came to be a Baptist minister, and how you got involved with helping Sutton in the Elms Baptist Church?
I became a Christian in 1971, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. With my wife Marion I was baptized at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Baptist church. After sharing my testimony and giving a ‘thought for the day’ at a Christmas service the church recognized and encouraged a ministry of preaching. Whilst working in Carlisle I was invited by the Baptist Church to be their lay pastor, a position that was recognized and affirmed by the North West Baptist association. This raised thoughts of full time ministry, which I suppressed for a number of years before God finally got though to me. By this time we had returned to the midlands and I was commended for ministerial training by the East Midlands Baptist Association. I spent four years in training at Northern Baptist College, Manchester, where I gained an honours degree in theology. I was ordained at Whitwick Baptist church, where I had conducted my student ministry, before taking up my first pastorate at Stourport on Severn in Worcestershire before moving to Higham Way Baptist church in Burbage some seven years later. I continued ministering in Burbage until I retired. Following retirement I took my time deciding what I should do. I did take on a few duties and continue to preach – which is a passion of mine. The time did come when I believed that my experience could be used as a moderator working with a church in interregnum, so when I was approached by Sutton I was delighted to accept, especially as my expectations and that of the deacons was the same. I’m now looking forward to the church recognizing the individual God has his hand upon to lead the church into the next phase of its ministry.
As this is about “Inspirational People” can you please tell me three people in your life who have inspired you and how they have done so?
In no particular order.
Fred Wilson. Fred was minister of Preston Baptist Church, past president of the Baptist Union and a friend of Carlisle Baptist Church where I first met Fred. It was Fred who encouraged thoughts of full time ministry and encouraged the church at Carlisle to invite me to be their Lay pastor.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer. German pastor and theologian who was martyred by the Nazis in 1945, a few weeks before the end of the war. He had the opportunity to flee Germany for America
but chose to stay with his people despite the danger. It was his willingness to live among the poorest people of Berlin when all the other pastors chose to live in ‘better areas’ and travel-in that touched me. This was true incarnational ministry, which saw amazing results. Bonhoeffer took his discipleship seriously and was prepared to pay the price in many ways.
Stuart Cato. My first boss when I started work for McVities. Stuart was a Christian, a Methodist lay preacher and an all together ‘good guy’. His attitude toward work; his ethical and moral values, showed me a way of being that influenced my life at work, at home and in the church. He was also one of the people who led me to Christ
What qualities do you look for in a friend?
Integrity, loyalty and trust would be words that would come immediately to mind. A friend should be someone who is able to both encourage and admonish you. Someone who, when you ask their opinion is not afraid to be honest, and when that honesty is going to hurt is able to do so with love and grace.
How would your other friends describe you?
I would like to think ‘all of the above’!
They would probably say I was reliable, that when I say I will do something I will do it.
Enthusiastic and energetic.
Willing to try anything (which might not necessarily be a good thing as I approach the grand age of 68!)
They would also say that I am very competitive.
Finally, please tell me something about you that we don’t already know?
I once lined up for a 10 mile run alongside Brendan Foster and Steve Cram. I didn’t win!
When are you next preaching at Sutton, and what will be your subject?
I will be preaching at Sutton on the morning of the 29th March when my subject will be ‘the man who lent Jesus his donkey’ Its Palm Sunday.
Thank you very much, John.