Rev Don Boyes, with his wife Ruth and family were with us here for just over 10 years. Times of change in many ways.
The inside of the sanctuary and the furnishing were changed dramatically, and the fellowship became more aware of the Holy Spirit ministry as we learned together
This was not an easy decade. Many days and half nights of prayer with fasting was our regular pattern. There was no other way. We praise the Lord that He knew how everyone in the body of Christ here felt as furnishing was knocked out and radical changes brought a new life in the church. We struggled as we learned more and more of the way and guidance and healing of the Holy Spirit. We give God all the glory for these special years.
The year's text for 1979 was from Jude 20:21 'But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.'
In Rev Boyes first letter through the magazine of that same year he wrote, 'May it be a more Christ centred and Spirit directed year. It is very true to say for all of us, that the new year of 1979 is as the words of Joshua 3:4 "you have not been this way before'".
What other changes?
For contact and visitation the church members and worshipping friends were shared amongst the Deacons.
A weekly Bible Study, with one evening each month for missionary interest. Later, in 1981, home groups began. Named missionaries were supported from the missionary percentage ie Christine Preston, BMS; Jim and Vilma Monk, Lifeline Ministries; two children of the Bible Land Society; Heather Travers EUSA. As Heather finished her term in Bolivia it was transferred to Alfredo Eggers, a Bolivian national Bible Seminary leader, who was much encouraged. The channel for famine relief etc was to be through Tear Fund.
The church constitution was changed.
For the first time a Church Matrimonial Register was opened. How good this was -no more wondering if the local Registrar would arrive in time.
All age squashes for fellowship commenced after Sunday evening services, later changing to prayer meetings.
Church notices giving daily and weekly events were printed for the first time.
Changes in worship - Songs of Fellowship were purchased
In 1983 changes also took place in the leadership as an Elder was appointed, Mr Gerry Passley, followed by a second Elder, Mr Ken Saunders, in 1984, this changed the role of the Church Secretary. The Secretary became a minute and correspondence ministry. Changes were also taking place in the Children's and Youth work - young people were encouraged to come to Meeting Point held in the large upstairs room each Sunday morning, young people were contacted in the street and brought along to the week night meeting. Ruth Boyes used Bible Club to bring many children in to week night meetings, right through to their teens, and the yearly camps proved to strengthen and renew them spiritually.
Outreach continued much as in the last few years with: Open air services. Outreach at the riverside. Door to door. Men's meetings Ladies meetings. Playgroup. Senior Citizen's monthly lunches commenced. Children's missions were held with the Faith Mission, Jim and Vilma Monk and John Marshall of SU. We began to realise at this time, that children did not come in to special missions as in earlier years. An outreach with books when the local Bible Colporteur had a stall at the village Donkey Derby, Mr Cresswell continued a few days of visitation in the village. The church joined in the Don Summers Crusade held at Sileby, and Dr Billy Graham Crusade at Villa Park and at Sheffield. What about the building changes? A new gas boiler was purchased instead of oil The choir stalls and pulpit was removed. The organ was taken down, the pipes being installed in the gallery, and a consul fitted at the side front. The wooden cross which had hung over the pulpit now found a very fitting home where a natural alcove was uncovered when the organ was taken down.
As the Lord provided, pews were removed and chairs purchased and carpet was fitted. A new movable pulpit was lovingly made and given. Windows were insulated and blinds fitted, assisting in the use of the overhead projector. Front doors were fitted to the outside front porch.
However, in the Lord's will and timing, Pastor Don Boyes informed the church in November 1988 that he would be leaving to be an area representative of Brother Andrew's Open Doors Mission and his last sermon as Pastor was preached in February 1989.
Don's last report brought to us this verse 'Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour serving the Lord' Romans 12:11.
It had been a very full year with seventeen baptisms.
He closed his report with these words 'We praise the Lord for our ten and a half years in Barrow. For your love, care, prayer and help. It does mean a lot to us and always will', and concludes with this verse from 3 John 4 'I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth! He has given us one to another not only now but for His eternity'.