On Friday 5th June a large congregation gathered for the induction of Mr Thomas Skip Gillespie, a student at the Baptist College, to the Pastorate of Grove Baptist Church in East Belfast. The service was chaired by Mr Andrew Allen (Elder). The history of the call was given by the Church Secretary, Mr Brian Wade, who told of the recommendation given to our former Secretary, Mr Tom Fleming, to invite Mr Gillespie to preach on a Sunday.
After further ministry the elders met for periods of special prayer. They followed this with meetings of the church office-bearers and the church members, which led to a call being extended to Mr Gillespie.
The Act of Induction was conducted by Pastor Alan Baird, Irish Baptist College, and the right hand of fellowship was given to Pastor and Mrs Gillespie by Mr Don Patterson (Elder). In reply, Pastor Gillespie said that he and his wife Ruth came to Grove with a deep sense of the leading of the Lord in their lives. They had earnestly sought the Lord and the counsel of godly men regarding such a call to the work of the pastorate, and had committed themselves to God for grace for this important ministry.
Greetings were brought by Pastor William Colville on behalf of the Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland, Pastor Robert Hunsdale, Agape Fellowship, Pastor Keith Giles, Castlereagh, representing local Baptist churches, and Mr Hugh Martin, Iron Hall, on behalf of other local churches.
The address was brought by Pastor Samuel Carson, whose help during the vacancy was acknowledged. His ministry for extended periods was a real help and blessing to the church. In his address based on 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Pastor Carson stated that the Pastor must "Be Balanced" - not given to extremes, he must be "Wary in all Things", he must "Endure Hardness", he must "Do the Work of an Evangelist", he must "Make Full Proof of the Ministry", and the "people must be Built Up in Sound Doctrine". Pastor Carson concluded by reminding everyone that in the Lord's work we are not left to our own devices but to the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit.
After a presentation of flowers to Mrs Ruth Gillespie by Mrs Hazel Smyth, Pastor Gillespie closed in prayer and gave thanks for the supper, which was served in the newly renovated Shaw Memorial Hall.
Report by Andrew Allen (Elder)