Baptist House facilities manager retires
The ‘end of an era’ – 27 years (or 10,077 days) after his service as Baptist House facilities manager began, Jon Spiller is retiring
Jon began his work in Didcot in 1989 when the Baptist Union of Great Britain and BMS World Mission came under one roof after relocating their London offices to Oxfordshire.
Now aged 65, and with six grandchildren to keep his hands full, he is moving on again. BMS and Baptist Union staff said their farewells and prayed for him on Friday morning.
‘It’s very much the end of an era,’ said David Kerrigan, General Director of BMS World Mission, ‘You were employed here before anyone had moved. Now, when people ask me how old the building is, they are surprised - they can’t believe how old it is. It’s testament to your attention to detail and the way you’ve kept it in tip top condition.’
As well as Jon’s ‘tremendous practical gifts’, David spoke of the affection in which he is held. He referred to Jon’s long association with BMS, when as a young, single man he had served with BMS in Zaire (now Congo). He would later return with wife Judith. ‘Lots of our Congo missionaries from that time comment how Jon and Judith’s home was an oasis of hospitality,’ David said.
As a colleague at Baptist House, David continued, Jon’s support had been invaluable. ‘Every single member of staff here says thank you.’
‘To a great many people here you have been more than a colleague, you’ve been a friend,’ added Viv O’Brien of the Ministries Team. ‘We love you, and we’ll miss you.’
Jon, a member of Abingdon Baptist Church and former member of Baptist Union Council, recalled how he had first visited Baptist House in April 1989. He was enroute to London to be interviewed for the position. ‘It was a building site,’ he said. But he accepted the job and returned to England from Kinshasa permanently in the summer with Judith and his three young children.
He told colleagues how he'd used Excel to calculate his service began 10,077 days ago.
‘I’ve loved this place,’ he said, ‘and I still do.’