News and Updates

08.Jul.2014 Induction of John Funnell at Noddfa, Abersychan

Gospel Churches Together!

Saturday 14 June saw approximately 150 people make their way up one of Wales’ Eastern valleys to the village of Abersychan and the church of Noddfa. It was both the end of a journey yet at the same time the start of a new venture with God. John Funnell was recognised as part-time pastor of the church.

John began attending Emmanuel Newport in 2008 and came to faith in 2009. Soon after, his wife Harriet, having seen the complete difference in John also came to faith and they were baptised together in January 2010. From the start John devoured good books and enrolled in various distance learning programmes. At the Aberystwyth Conference in 2011 he was asked by one of the elders at Emmanuel, where he thought the study was leading. They agreed to meet the week after Aber to discuss the matter more fully, not knowing God’s plan.

On the Friday morning David Jones of Hobart, Tasmania issued a call for all present to consider the needs in the South Wales valleys. That call struck a chord in John’s heart and after discussion with Harriet there began a year of discussions within the leadership and members of the church at Emmanuel. Visits were made to a number of reputable theological programmes, and as a result of various providences it was agreed that John would begin preaching at Emmanuel and other churches that expressed a need while following the Theological Training Course of the Evangelical Movement of Wales. A number of churches expressed an interest in John joining them in ministry, but the eldership at Emmanuel recognised that they had a responsibility to continue supporting and preparing him for ministry, so were not prepared to let him loose without ongoing support.

Noddfa was one the those churches, so the leaders of Emmanuel and Noddfa met, agreeing that since Noddfa had been without a full-time pastor for about 2 years it would be good if our churches could cooperate to further the work of this witness. That journey of preparation was completed on June 14 when we met to set John aside for this ministry.

The service was led by Peter Milsom, chairman of the Associating Evangelical Churches of Wales, and he led the act of recognition, questioning John and both churches. He then led us in prayer as John, Harriet and their children were committed to the care of God. The service also contained a personal testimony from John, a history of the Call from Peter Sweeting, deacon at Noddfa and a statement of commendation by Ian Davies an elder at Emmanuel. Bernard Lewis of Emmanuel preached from 1 Chronicles 28:1 “... the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the LORD God,” exhorting all present and especially both churches to continue to support John and each other in this great work.

John remains a full-member of Emmanuel with special responsibility for Noddfa and the churches agree to work together, maintaining their autonomy until John’s study period is complete. We trust that this will be the beginning of a very special venture with God, and would covet the prayers of all who know the needs in this area of Wales.

Click here to see a photograph of some of the congregation. Noddfa Induction Photograph