Though he’d hardly had time to unpack, recently-arrived Hearsall Baptist Church minister Reverend David Sutcliffe found time recently to talk to ECHO about his new role.
“Bringing it all together” is how David described the core of his vision for the future. “Hearsall Baptist Church is home to many groups and societies, but the church is keen to help forge a greater unity among them – the unity that chapter 4 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians describes, that makes Christ visible to the wider world. Part of our review will include considering how we can use our buildings to make the church a more integral part of the local community”. But “doing services well” with a blend of the best of the old and the best of the new is clearly also on David’s agenda, as is a desire to become involved in the city’s inter-faith work and to help the church think about – and reduce – its environmental impact.
Although brimming with thoughts and ideas, it’s clear that a contemplative and prayerful approach underpins everything David does – “the luxury of cultivating that peaceful relationship with God”, as he describes it. He was therefore delighted to have already received invitations to join contemplative prayer groups at two other local churches. And in that same ecumenical spirit, he intends that the church will continue to maintain strong links with Churches Together in Chapelfields and Earlsdon (CTEC).
David (who moved to Coventry with his wife Ruth at the end of December) is no stranger to ministerial roles, having served as a church minister previously. Most recently, though, he’s been a trainer with Mencap, based in Bristol, where one of his four grown-up children still lives. Very much a man who values spending time with people, he retains a keen interest in helping Christians connect their faith with their working lives, and will continue to do some consultancy as an executive coach. Never having lived in Coventry before, he praised its neighbourliness – exemplified by the fruit pie given to him and Ruth by a neighbour shortly after they moved in – and told ECHO how much he appreciated the “busyness” of Earlsdon.
We wish David well in his new role. In a future issue, we also hope to catch up with the recently-appointed minister at Earlsdon Methodist Church, Andrew Meredith, who has so far proved rather elusive since his arrival in September.