Recently I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of local residents at the Renewal Church to celebrate the career of Bishop David Carr, better known to many as Pastor Dave.
It was a wonderful service, and a fitting tribute to what has been an extraordinary career in the church. There was singing, plenty of laughs – and more than a few tears, too.
David has been a fixture here in Solihull for almost 50 years, ever since he first founded the Renewal Church in Lode Lane. Over the years it has grown into a thriving ministry, with hundreds attending its services both here in Solihull and in several other locations across the region.
As we gathered to wish him well on the next stage of his journey – he was keen to stress not his retirement – it was remarkable to hear from many of those David has helped during his ministry. It was especially interesting to learn about his work with the chaplaincy at Heartlands Hospital, and the life-changing care and support he has offered to teachers and pupils some of our schools.
In fact, something that really strikes you about Renewal is how thoroughly engaged it is with the local community. Their magazine has details not only of a number of services but a broad range of prayer and support groups, and youth and social clubs, and events.
That’s not to forget their ‘Helping Hands’ programme, which provides emergency food provisions to individuals and families in need. All donations gratefully received – check them out at renewalcc.com/helpinghands.
Reading the tributes and testimonials, it seems to me that Pastor David has built a church which reflects the style of his ministry: engaged, generous, and brimming over with a deep interest in, and care for, his flock which extends far beyond the Sunday service. I have every confidence that Jonny Lee, who succeeds him as senior pastor, will be able to carry forward that mission in the years ahead.
As for David, I don’t yet know what he’s going to do in his “fourth-quarter mission”. But I and hundreds of others will be looking on with great interest!
Julian Knight MP