14. 1967 - 1973

Mr John Watterson

After Mr Ron Webb had left the pastorate with praise to the Lord for the 10 decisions made at the Dr Billy Graham meetings the church looked to the Lord for a new leader. Very soon the name of a dear friend and local lay preacher whom the church knew well, John Watterson from the Mountsorrel Baptist Church was put forward at a church meeting. After much thought and prayer, John, together with the church here acknowledged the call. He was welcomed into the church as lay pastor on 11 February 1967, along with his wife Dorothy and their three sons David, Keith and Paul, the service was conducted by Pastor Cooper of Quorn, Rev Woolford of the Mountsorrel and Rothley Baptist Churches, John's own Pastor gave the Charge, and the Rev W J Grant,Area Superintendent the Induction. There was great expectancy at what the Lord was doing, and as the service of induction and praise moved on to the tea, Mr Dennis Hubbard, one of our previous lay pastors and President of the Loughborough and District presided at the tea table.

Over the six years of John's ministry there were 19 baptisms, additional Family Services and then a weekly morning service was recommended (morning service on a regular basis ceased during the 1939/45 war). An 8 am Sunday morning Communion Service commenced in 1967 and on 29 December of that year a special emphasis of Thanksgiving to God for all his blessings was proclaimed.

Open air services, as a move in evangelism were presented on the 'greens' of the new estates.

The Church Constitution was revised and 200 printed.

A One Step Forward (Bryan Gilbert) was a blessing - Agape love was experienced by the church.

A bookstall was opened for the use of the church.

Marriages and baptisms were all part of John's busy life here in the church. Crusades and Missions seemed to follow on in quick succession; Dr Billy Graham, Leighton Ford Crusade at Derby, when a bus was booked for the occasion. Missions at the church included the Soar Valley Crusade (15 days) with Rev Derek Cook at Barrow, Faith Mission when they erected their hall by the Parish Church rooms, Ron Jones, an SU mission to children, when the whole village was visited by the Sunday School teachers to reach out. A two week Holiday Special using church members and young people, the following year Peter Anderson led a Crusade in the autumn over ten days using coffee mornings, afternoon teas in homes, children's meetings and young people's coffee bars. During this time the Sunday School which had changed to mornings in 1968 was at bursting point with 120 children using every bit of possible space, even the corridors, and local homes.

Did we need the 750 sq yds of ground at the back of the church that was offered to us at £1 per sq yd?

Financial covenanting was suggested in 1969, it became a reality in 1973 when the offering for the year amounted to £569. Missionary giving was for the Baptist Missionary Society, Baptist Home Work Fund (Home Mission), Unevangelised Field Mission and the Faith Mission.

The Church withdrew from British Council of Churches and the Sunday School from the local Sunday School Union.

The 150 Anniversary of the Church and Sunday School was celebrated.

The Loughborough Echo reported as follows

'Interest was created at the 150 Anniversary services of Barrow Baptist Church, when requested hymns were sung at each of the three services.

Twenty four old scholars and friends had been approached, most of the hymns had been specially arranged to be sung by the choir, congregation, solo and group, and all were arranged in special settings.

One hundred and fifty years is a long way to think back, but it was felt that, although not every family connected with the church over the years could be asked, these hymns would represent as a whole the favourites of the members and congregations over the years.

Families represented by requests were: J Smith, J Hyman, Mrs Ball, H Frier, Mrs Leathers, Mrs Cunningham, Miss Oswin, Mr Sudbury, F Sutton, Mr and Mrs Dakin, Mrs R Bennett, Mrs A Freer, Mr E Lewin, Mrs Glover, Mr B Haseldine, Miss Kirby, Mrs E Sutton, Mrs G Belton and Mrs N Beauchamp.

Hymns set to modern tunes were among the children's group of songs and were enjoyed by the children's choir. Added to these were an arrangement of Negro spirituals sung by the choir. Solos and duets were given by Susan Hall, Annie Fletcher, Dawn Geary, Alison Ferguson, Beverley Thurman, Cheryl Thurman, Alison Flinders, Miss Sandra Freer, Mrs Margaret Wells, Miss Amy Freer, Mrs Janet Voyce, Mr Alan Woodhouse and a group of Girl Covenanters.

Two hymns were set to special group arrangements and the primary scholars sang with percussion band arrangement. At each service a welcome was given by three scholars: Penelope Baron, Karen Ferguson and Carol Whitmore, and prayers were said at the morning service by Helen Mew.

At each of the services Pastor John Watterson illustrated with pictures, stories from The Jungle Doctor Missionary Series for the children; following on with an expounding of the Good News of the Gospel to the congregation, so interlinking the two messages.

The leader at the afternoon service was Miss Amy Freer, and in the evening Mrs D Hudson. Mr David Watterson had trained the children and choir and the organist was Mrs Sudbury. Flower arrangements were by Mrs Ann Childs, which were later distributed.

At the morning service the R H Bennett Cup was presented to Class 3 Juniors -Sandra Brown, Shirley Knowles, Lesley Sayers, Suzanne Clark, John Mccubbin, Richard Childs, William Coster, Mark Edwards, Martyn Tomkins, Richard North (teacher. Miss Susan Hudson). This class had the highest average attendance from October 1970 to March 1971.' Music continued to play a special part in our worship; often our Pastor John ministered in song, the gospel was proclaimed by other soloists and choirs under the direction of organists Mrs Sudbury, Mrs Heywood and Mr David Watterson.

Ministry and Mission and 'fruit' as families experienced a real blessing. So much moved so fast. A men's meeting commenced in 1971, new table tennis tables were bought for the Saturday Youth Club -the Covenanter movement began amongst the older children and young people. The new monthly ladies evening was seeing growth, when a 'squash' was experienced 'as walls bulged' in the homes of the members for the fellowship of teenagers and others.

What happened building wise. A car park was made, a fire escape was built along with a new toilet block, Faith Mission gave us a hall which was placed on the ground at the back of the church - a very welcome gift for our growing needs at this time.

Other items were purchased - a Banda printing machine, film strip projector, tape recorder, an office was made in the upstairs room, Sunday School room was sanded, and decorations to vestry and upstairs rooms when the floors were fitted with linoleum. Gifts were also made to the church, baptismal gowns, tables for use in the Sunday School, a silver communion tray, amplification of the church and flower stands.

In October 1972 a suggestion was brought to the church that a meeting might be held to discuss the Charismatic movement, the late Rev David Watson of York was contacted inviting him to visit our church -the meeting never took place.

Changes were taking place in so many areas of the church, the Holy Spirit was moving, the church growth brought joy.

However, it was on 25 February 1973 that our Pastor John felt the need to resign from the lay pastorate of this church. Portions from his letter show just a little of the love he had for the church here.

'I believe the Lord has called me to step down from the Pastorate of this church. May I quickly reassure you all that nothing within the church, or my family has brought about this decision, but simply that I believe my time as Pastor here has come to an end.

I have been privileged to serve. How much I have come to love you all. I praise the Lord for all He has done in us and through us over these past six years and I can truthfully say that they have been amongst the happiest years of my life.'

Following a Church Meeting on 8 March 1973: John was thrilled that God had made it so clear to him, he was excited at the blessing that would come out of this, the love in the church was so evident. He would be phasing out of present Pastor's ministry, there would be greater involvement by other people, perhaps there would be a full time pastor, prayer would be so important. And so on 31 May a service of Thanksgiving was held, Rev Rodney Sexton of Mountsorrel and Rothley Baptist churches ministering.

We have no plans to leave Barrow at this moment', said John in his letter, but just a few years on he was accepted as a student at Spurgeons Bible College in training for full time ministry. What a privilege for the church here, and with John and Dorothy Watterson giving God the Glory.

Footnote:

In June 1979 the church travelled down to Spurgeons College for John Watterson's completed course and presentation. In September John was ordained in our church, followed by his Induction as Pastor of Newbridge Baptist Church, Birmingham.

However, it was on 25 February 1973 that our Pastor John felt the need to resign from the lay pastorate of this church. Portions from his letter show just a little of the love he had for the church here.

'I believe the Lord has called me to step down from the Pastorate of this church. May I quickly reassure you all that nothing within the church, or my family has brought about this decision, but simply that I believe my time as Pastor here has come to an end.

I have been privileged to serve. How much I have come to love you all. I praise the Lord for all He has done in us and through us over these past six years and I can truthfully say that they have been amongst the happiest years of my life.'

Following a Church Meeting on 8 March 1973: John was thrilled that God had made it so clear to him, he was excited at the blessing that would come out of this, the love in the church was so evident. He would be phasing out of present Pastor's ministry, there would be greater involvement by other people, perhaps there would be a full time pastor, prayer would be so important. And so on 31 May a service of Thanksgiving was held, Rev Rodney Sexton of Mountsorrel and Rothley Baptist


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Last Updated. 21-February-2017 By admin