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Ipswich: Church stays in the family as pastor hands over to son

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 February 2014

Clovette and Nathan Simmonds

Clovette and Nathan Simmonds

Archant

The founding pastor of an Ipswich church has stepped down after 53 years – handing over the pulpit to his son.

Bishop Martin Simmonds founded the Bethel church with Don Double in 1960, and after meeting at several venues in Ipswich the church set up a permanent home in Luther Road 40 years ago.

Now Mr Simmonds’ son Nathan has been installed as the new pastor of the church.

Nathan said it was not just the case of his father handing on the role. He said: “I believe that it has to be a spiritual calling. Nepotism doesn’t come into it. The role of pastor should be God given and could have been passed to anyone.”

Some of the current Bethel members have been attending services from the early days of this church fellowship, with a few who attended the first formal services back in 1961.

Nathan said the older worshippers had nothing to fear: “There will always be a place for our older members. I’m looking to add more energy and creativity into the church.

“We’ll all get old one day but it doesn’t mean we stop having something to contribute. I see the older members helping and supporting the younger members.”

He added “My style of leadership is based on being a good listener and sharing a lot of the responsibility. I always involve others as it helps me to see other angles or point of view.”

Nathan is married to Clovette, they have five children; four girls and one boy.

A Shotley father with five drink-driving convictions has been jailed for 36 weeks after taking his mother’s car without consent and crashing it into a hedge.

Snow could fall in parts of Suffolk this morning as temperatures dropped overnight.

Trains between London and Norwich are being cancelled this morning as a result of engineering work not having been completed on time.

Police and firefighters were called to a suspected arson attack in Carlton Colville in the early hours of this morning.

Police are searching for a 52-year-old man from Leavenheath who has been reported missing.

Police have arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with an incident that caused armed officers to swoop on Ipswich town centre tonight.

Highways bosses have announced they will be carrying out a series of improvements to the road network across Suffolk and north Essex this week.

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