This Saturday, Phil Marsden’s Induction Service, when we formally welcome him as Ministry Team Leader, will take place at 2.30pm. Here's a brief introduction to Phil and his family.

Sandra and I met on a Christian gap year programme and will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary later this year. We have two grown up daughters; Amy (23yrs), who married Josh last year and now lives with him in Winchester and Beth (20yrs), presently studying Speech and Language Therapy at Reading University. You’ll no doubt get to know Beth a bit more when she’s home from university as she’ll be living and worshipping with us during term breaks. Both are committed Christians and both, in our humble opinion, are the best daughters in the world!

My parents live in St Helens and I have two younger brothers and a sister, in Widnes, Warrington and Manchester. As these are all ‘up North’ we usually try and visit them all in one go, along with Sandra’s parents in Burnley and, up until recently, my Gran in Oldham, who died at 106yrs! As you can imagine, it’s quite a challenge to get around them all in just a weekend, especially as I work most weekends! Sandra also has a sister who’s married and lives in Northwood, so they’re looking forward to catching up a bit more when we move as it’s nearer than where we are now.

As some of you already know, I’m an Everton fan, though there’s not much to cheer about at the moment and I only get to one or two games every couple of years! (they’re in Liverpool). I also used to love playing football regularly, but haven’t done so for a few years now…however, I have noted there’s a team at Central, so who knows!!! Sandra enjoys reading, especially novels and currently works part time for a charity as a Development Worker, advising and supporting other charities and community groups in Somerset. She’ll be looking for another part time job when we move to Chelmsford, but balances this with supporting me and providing hospitality for the large number of people we usually have round at our house during the year. You’re all very welcome!!!

Actually, one of the hardest things about moving for us will be leaving a number of close friends behind. We regularly get together with them for meals, drinks and games nights (anyone heard of Sequence or Mexican Train?) and once a year we go away with three other couples for a short holiday/retreat. We’ll certainly hope to maintain these friendships, but obviously distance will make things different and we’ll look forward to making new friends in Chelmsford once we move.

Other things we’re looking forward to are being part of such a large and diverse church family again; meals out by the river in the city centre and for me personally, working with a new staff team and alongside another experienced Minister as we develop our Team Ministry at Central. From what I’ve already seen, there’s a lot of good things happening at the church and I’m really looking forward to being part of that as well as bringing new thoughts and ideas for us to explore together. As some of you know, I’ve been very blessed to serve in a number of different churches and Christian organisations over the past thirty years and I’m keen to put that experience to good use when we join you, as well as learning from others and from your own experiences at Central.

Our hope is that you will welcome us, not only as the new Pastor and his wife, but also as friends and fellow journeyers in this life we share together, with all its joys and struggles, highs and lows. And our hope is that together, we might grow and press on into an even greater depth of love and relationship with our Father God, with one another and in our passion to see His Kingdom come wherever we live, work or play, especially in Chelmsford. We’re really excited about this and hope there’s a growing sense of excitement amongst you too as we look forward to all God has for us in this, our next chapter together!


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