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Beccles pastor retires

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 September 2009 | UPDATED: 08:30 01 August 2010

THE pastor of Beccles Baptist Church is retiring after 23 years.

The Rev Roger Prime, a familiar face in the town since his arrival in 1986, will be honoured at a thanksgiving service at the church on Saturday, September 19.

THE pastor of Beccles Baptist Church is retiring after 23 years.

The Rev Roger Prime, a familiar face in the town since his arrival in 1986, will be honoured at a thanksgiving service at the church on Saturday, September 19.

Mr Prime, 63, said that he felt the time was right to retire, although he would miss the work.

“When you're involved with people's lives you get very attached to people,” he said. “But I think it's time to hand the responsibility of the church over to someone else.”

Mr Prime has been in the ministry for almost 39 years, starting out at a church at Great Blakenham, where he stayed for 15 years.

In his early years in Beccles Mr Prime encouraged links with the Clowes print works when it was situated in the town centre.

He also encouraged links with Albert Pye School, where he has served as the chairman of governors for a number of years, and has been heavily involved with the schools festivals organised by local churches to spread the Christian messages among children through a variety of activities.

Other projects in his early days included overseeing maintenance work on the church.

In recent years Mr Prime has undertaken the training of two young pastors, Mark Drury and John Heron, who both went on to be pastors at their own churches.

“What's been encouraging to me is to know that I've been instrumental in two younger members to gain responsibility for churches of their own,” he said.

He has preached and taught in Romania and Burma, as well as at the Suffolk Preachers' Seminary at Stowmarket.

Mr Prime has also been involved in radio work with the Grace Baptist Mission, training pastors around the world, and in the Lowestoft Living Word event.

Mr Prime said that in retirement he hoped to carry out Christian work around East Anglia.

His thanksgiving service will start at 3pm and will include guest speaker Derek French from Grace Baptist Mission, with whom Mr Prime has worked before.

The church's new pastor will be Derek Johnston, who has moved to Beccles from Scotland with his wife Gillian and two children.

His induction service will be held at the church on Saturday, October 17.

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