Finding a minister to replace Rev Graham Smith was a very difficult exercise. For most of the preceding year, it looked as though we would not be getting anyone until September 2007 then, in June, it seemed that we would be able to have a very suitable minister for 12 months, but with just hours to spare before it would have all been confirmed, the arrangements fell apart.
On the basis that we would not be getting anyone, circuit staff began work on the preaching plan that would cover the last 4 months of the year. It was a struggle and we were glad to accpet an offer of part-time help at Hall Royd from Rev John Hayton, a URC Minister married to Stella Hayton, the Shipley URC Minister.
Then, out of the blue, a recently retired minister living in Birmingham offered to help, having heard of our plight. He will come to live in Baildon and work full-time in the circuit for the bast part of a year.
Brian Brown came to England as a refugee from apartheid South Africa in 1978 and worked in the Denby Dale circuit, near Huddersfield. Brian succeeded Rev George Irvine as Superintendent then went on to work as Africa Secretary for the British Council of Churches. After that he taught at Selly oak in a college equipping people coming from overseas to work in the Church in Britain. This was followed by a lengthy period in the World Church Office in London – where he was again responsible for African affairs. His wife, Marion, also worked in Church HQ in Marylebone Road at that time and was involved with producing the excellent Network Magazine ‘Magnet’.
Before retiring he was minister of a large mutli-racial church in Tooting, and superintendent of the Wandle Valley circuit, in South London.
He has 3 children, Sharon lived in Birmingham, where sh was the director of a church project working with refugees and asylum seekers. David is married and lived in Winchester, but works for a charity based in London; Sean lived in Cape Town and was an AIDS counsellor at the University there.
Honouring commitments already made, when we thought that we would not be getting a full-time replacement from Rev Graham Smith, we will be using John Hayton at Hall Royd through the autumn period as assistant minister to Brian
When Brian & Marion came to Denby Dale, Marjorie Brigham took the leading role in furnishing the manse for them and their young family. Now, with Pat fanning, she finds herself doing that again. Many items have already been offered – either on loan or as gifts – however more is still needed – as well as many similar items such as pots, crockery, cutlery and linen.