There are people in our church who astound me from time to time with their faith and commitment, and sometimes it’s easy to miss what they do to ‘build the walls’ (Nehemiah 3). With that in mind, from time to time and with permission, I want to tell some of their stories as an encouragement.
My “Heroes of the week” this time are Richard and
Richard and Wendy have been a part of Grace Church since before it even began; by which I mean they were planning and praying for it before the possibility of it even entered my head.
Before it began
In early 2005, when the idea of a church plant into Chichester was first being discussed, Jo and I were introduced to Richard and Wendy through a fellow church leader. Based in Brighton, and long term members of Church of Christ the King, they had been dreaming of a church plant into Chichester for several years. To help get things moving they had already joined a church in Worthing in order to get a bit closer to where it might happen. Their house was already on the market. Then Jo and I arrived on the scene and Richard and Wendy willingly jumped in with us to get the church plant started.
Richard and Wendy are loved by so many people, and personally I admire them for many qualities – here are just a few (and believe me I could list many more):
It took more than two years for their house to sell, but they never wavered. God had spoken and God would do it in his time
Through many ups and downs and various challenges of church life and leadership, Richard and Wendy have always remained steadfast with a good attitude
So many people have been through their home at various times and have been fed and cared for – it’s no wonder they are well loved
Especially of my many quirks and foibles and leadership errors
Their pastoral wisdom:
With so many people who are in all sorts of situations
Their sense of humour:
Richard’s ‘dad jokes’ are legendary; Wendy’s laugh is infectious (Just keep Richard off the subject of “gruesome ex-policeman stories”)
Their servant heart:
Always the first in line to pray for people, to show hospitality or to just do what needs to be done, from putting out chairs to cleaning floors to visiting the sick
In short, with regards to these two, every church needs people like this in it!
So why am I blogging about them now? Because Richard and Wendy are facing a challenge.
A couple of years ago Wendy fought her way, with the support of her church and family, through the ordeal of breast cancer. It was a fight that she won, receiving the all clear in the end. Praise God!
So it’s upsetting now to find that, after battling several other illnesses, Richard has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Sadly the treatment options are limited and Richard has been sent away to enjoy the summer. Unless God intervenes it is likely to be life limiting, but rest assured we will be praying for a miracle and would invite you to do the same.
But how do Richard and Wendy respond to this? They keep on serving the church and keep on worshipping, pressing into God and leading us all by example.
What has impressed me once again is the faith and resilience that this couple have shown.
“God is in charge; he is not surprised; our lives are in his hands”
That’s not to say there is no sadness or worry, but any of this is mixed with faith and confidence in a God who always heals in the end – in this life or the next. And that’s where our hope lies, and it’s where Richard and Wendy’s hope lies too.
Let’s keep praying
So let’s keep on praying for this awesome couple who have devoted themselves to building the walls.