Our Present Diaconate

Andrew (click for larger picture)

(2009 - )

I was born in South London in 1947, and grew up in Vauxhall, before moving to the notorious Elephant and Castle area.

My parents originally come from Scotland, and it was there, in a little fishing village called Portsoy on the Moray Firth coast, that I spent my holidays.

London was still picking itself up from the ravages of war when I was young. We only had gas lighting, and there was little to do save play on the bombsites and make our own amusement.

I still have an image of looking out from the flats where I used to live, to my Primary school, Victory Place and, nestled beside it, the Ebenezer mission where my parents sent me. In my mind’s eye I can still see a picture of Jesus and the verse from Mark 10: 14 “Let the little children come to me.”

Years go on, as years must. I recall, one day, hearing a mate cursing God for the cold weather, and the stupidity of being born at that time of year. I didn’t realize then the impact the Sunday School had on me, as I recall asking God to forgive him.

I didn’t do well at school: when I left, I had various jobs until I went to work as a porter in a South London Hospital where I met Margaret.

One night she said she wanted to go and see Cliff Richard’s film “Two a Penny”. It’s the story of Jamie Hopkins (Cliff Richard), an art student and frustrated pop star who lived with his mother. Carol, his girlfriend, is converted to Christianity when attending a crusade led by evangelist Billy Graham. She attempts to show Jamie the error of his ways. Initially hostile toward his girlfriend’s new-found faith, Jamie eventually accepts it.

I remember thinking as we walked back to the nurses’ home; “there must be something more to life!”

The following day when Margaret phoned me to ask how I was, I just replied, “empty, new”.

We were baptised on the 5th of January 1969 and we were married in 1970.

I went to the London Bible College where I studied under a Christian training programme. This took me to study at Regents Park College, Oxford, and my preaching started when I joined the London Baptist Preachers’ Association.

We have two children, both married, Sarah and her husband Colin living in Surrey and Steve our son who has just moved to Calgary, Canada with his wife Caroline and our granddaughter Freya.

We decided to retire from jobs in the NHS, and life in London, for a peaceful life by the sea. While looking for property in Whitstable we visited Middle Wall on several occasions and felt this was to be our spiritual home for the future.

We moved to nearby Chestfield in August 2007 and became members of Whitstable Baptist Church in March 2008. We feel really blessed with our church life and our new home, both given by God.

As for the peaceful life, well…

Of the future… who can say? That is in the Lord’s hands.

A hymn I like is: “I the Lord of sea and sky” with its chorus:

Here I am Lord.
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord,
If you lead me;
I will hold your people in my heart.


Registered Charity Number: X20357 © Tony Harris 26/06/2019