Spalding Baptist Church officially welcomed its new minister and his family during an induction service on Saturday.
The Reverend (Rev) Paul Wheeler, only the 23rd minister in the church’s 371-year history, wife Tracy and their two sons were joined by church members and guests to celebrate the end of a near three-year search for a new leader.
Mr Wheeler, formerly minister at Aylestone Baptist Church in Leicester, said: “Last year, when a lot of life changes happened, I felt the Lord prompting me to look for a new place where I could be involved in ministry.
“There were one or two churches that I was on conversation with.
“But when I got a phone call from the secretary of Spalding Baptist Church, I had to get the map out because I wasn’t entirely sure where it was.
“I came and met the leaders of the church which was very positive and as I was walking around the church, I felt the Lord saying ‘This is where I want you to be’.
“My family and I are so blessed to be here and, with the response from the church membership, we feel this is the right place for us.”
In a statement read out during the service, Mr Walker and his wife Doreen said: “We look back, with so much gratitude to the Lord, on nearly 25 years of pastoral ministry that we were privileged to have at Spalding Baptist Church.
“It was a joy to be part of the story of a long-established church, with such an amazing history, and a joy to be part of a loving fellowship who wrapped their arms around us, praying and encouraging us through all those years.
My family and I are so blessed to be here and, with the response from the church membership, we feel this is the right place for usThe Reverend Paul Wheeler, minister of Spalding Baptist Church
“To Paul, Tracy and family, we pray the Lord’s richest blessing on your ministry as you have been called to such a fine church, taking it church on further in God’s purposes and seeing many in the area come to Christ and go on into spiritual maturity.
“We are sure that you too will know the love of the fellowship rising up to meet you and their prayers supporting you when the way is easy, but also when, as it sometimes is, the way is hard.
“We ask the Lord to give you and the fellowship a real vision of where He wants to lead you together in the exciting days that lie ahead.
“Finally, we hope that you enjoy yourselves and may the Lord bless you.”