Report and pictures by Joolz Walker
"CATCH the wave dude! “ That was the message to the wellwishers who gathered for the induction of the Revd Mary Taylor as Regional Minister with the Yorkshire Baptist Association.
Surfing was a prominent image throughout the event – highlighted by Mary’s wetsuit and bodyboard which took pride of place on the platform. 'Our new regional minister is a surfer,' said the Revd Kezia Robinson during the pre-induction talk. She also said: 'She is a nice, good woman – but she is a Regional Minister with a backbone of steel.'
Earlier Mel Neale gave a dramatic scripture telling based on Luke 4:14-21 then Jody Gabriel spoke on 'The treasures of the church' from Jean Vanier.
Andy Amoss spoke about catching the wave of what God was sending our way – and later people were invited to show their commitment to this by signing one of two posters bearing the scripture Luke 14 v 18-19: “God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce: ‘This is God’s year to act’.”
Regional Minister and Team Leader the Revd Graham Ensor led the induction at Destiny Church, Wakefield. He encouraged the YBA churches to give Mary prayer support in her role with all of its joys and challenges. He added that Mary’s appointment had not just been a human interview process - there had been spiritual discernment. The induction was a public affirmation of that.
The Revd Brian Nicholls, Chair of the YBA Executive, said there had been some good candidates in the selection process but: 'Mary’s quiet determination, breadth of experience, mission-focused heart and her evident love for God stood out. The interview panel were unanimous in recommending her for appointment.' He added that Mary was not an ecclesiastical bureaucrat or a maintenance engineer – rather she would be there to encourage us to catch that wave of being missional people as the Spirit of God moves in our region.
Mary said she felt she was at the start of an adventure – and it was an enormous challenge. 'Churches in many ways are standing at a place of death – but I want to encourage you that at the place of death, for those who trust in Jesus Christ it is the place of resurrection.
'I don’t come with a programme, plan or strategy – but primarily I believe God wants me to come as myself. That’s what I bring. I want us to walk together to discover the possibilities God has for us.'
Induction promises were made by Mary, her husband David, representatives of the YBA churches, ecumenical representatives and the whole congregation. Prayers were said by Michael Bradley, Shahbaz Heydari, Beauty Edebor, Sally Martin and Graham Ensor.
The worship leader for the event was Mary and David’s daughter Eleanor Brennan. The celebrations ended with cakes, coffee and tea served by friends from Wakefield Baptist Church, where Mary was minister before taking up her YBA role.