Peter & Emily Mason
by James Martin
There Are Exciting Times Ahead
…but it’s going to take your prayer and patience.
We’ve Been Searching
Any of you connected with BRBC will know that we have been looking for another full-time member of staff. It was always the intention when hiring me (James) that I would be part of a larger leadership staff team. To begin with we were unsure as to what kind of person we were looking for. Did we need another preaching pastor? Or did we need someone with strong organisational skills? Did we need someone with decades of experience? Or someone younger with a skill-set suited to our ambitions to be biblical and relevant to 2017 and beyond?
As time went on it became clear we needed someone with a very specific set of gifts; someone that an American church would call an ‘Executive Pastor.’ That is, someone able to organise the ministries of BRBC, develop the way we communicate inside and outside the church, develop ministry leaders, create study material and teaching series alongside me, have Bible and Theolgy qualifications, and bring media skills too. That is a very specific set of skills, so understandably, our next question was: where on earth do you find that person?!
An Unexpected Response
As a church we prayed through this and searched. And as a leadership we racked our brains, made enquiries, looked at pastoral applicant lists, and yet were drawing blanks. There were a lot of wonderful CV’s on display, but no one was meeting what we were looking for. Along the way, a few people looked promising and questions were asked, but nothing seemed to be materialising. That was until a fellow alumnus of mine from Moody Bible Institute, Peter Mason came to make our church website welcome video and I off-the-cuff said, “Mate, I’d love to work with you – I think we’d work rather well together.” I didn’t expect much of a response – in the back of my mind I knew Peter (and his wife, Emily) would have to leave behind a lifetime of city living in the the USA and UK and be extremely adaptable to take on a rural Suffolk lifestyle. They were living in Liverpool, working with Christ Church Liverpool, and Rougham is very far removed from that. Yet to my surprise, Peter said, “Is that an offer? Can we talk some more?”
I wasn’t sure what to make of his response. I suppose I doubted that Peter was serious, and perhaps, just humouring me. In my mind, life in Rougham has a lot going for it, but for some reason I thought it would be too much of a step to take – from inner-city Liverpool life to the sleepy backroads of Suffolk. But then again, I reminded myself, Quincie and I moved from Chicago to Rougham, so I suppose, it is possible. All it takes is a big enough heart for the work at BRBC.
Meeting and Inviting Peter & Emily
From there we chatted, prayed, and discussed some more. The leadership team at BRBC arranged for Peter and Emily to come to BRBC for a come-see-what-we’re-like visit and then for a we’re-interested-in-serving-with-you visit. Peter preached for us twice, had a Q&A with the leadership, and then a whole church Q&A with both Peter and Emily – their answers were mature, insightful, and inspiring.
The membership voted in favour – and then, with excitement, we extended an invitation to them for Peter to join the pastoral staff at BRBC as an assistant Pastor. Our search had come up trumps, but not from the place we had expected and we saw that, with God’s help, finding such a specific set of skills in one person was possible.
And they accepted…
It was great to hear the words over the phone, “oh great, we accept – this is so exciting,” and even better to see it in writing. I asked Peter not long after, “I like that you are so excited about this job, but isn’t the transition going to be really tough?” His answer typifies why they are the right people. He said, “Yes, but I see a vibrant church full of potential, with an exciting future before it, and I love the vision to see BRBC create a model of rural ministry that reshapes how churches in BRBC’s context reach others for Jesus.”
I loved that answer.
And if you thought it wasn’t possible for them to win our hearts any more, then think again. Here’s what they wrote:
Dear BRBC Family:
We’re writing to you with excitement and gratitude to accept your offer for Peter to join the pastoral staff team this autumn. Our visits so far have been so encouraging, and we have no doubt that God has prepared us for this opportunity and blessed us already through your church community and faith.
We are inspired by your history, rooted in Bradfield and Rougham, and by your vision to continue reaching those villages and the surrounding Bury St. Edmunds. Equally exciting is your passion to multiply the gospel in families and communities throughout East Anglia. We pray that we will be able to support and encourage you as we work and live alongside each other.
We will continue to pray for your spiritual health, God’s provision, and wisdom as you continue growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus. Please do pray for us when we come to mind, that we would conclude our time in Liverpool well and that we would trust God through the visa and relocation process.
Thank you so very much for your kind welcome and words of support and encouragement. We look forward to being with you soon!
Peter and Emily Mason
Where are we now?
Peter and Emily are both from the United States, and you know what that means we’ve got to deal with to get them here? Yes, you’re right. Visas.
If you know my history with visas, then you’ll know that I don’t like visas. But needs must and we’re halfway through the process. Thankfully, as a church, we have just received our ‘charity worker sponsor’ license, then it’ll mean getting a sponsor certificate in the very near future, and then it’ll be a matter of Peter and Emily applying once they return to the States for a month or two this summer.
They’ll be looking to arrive in the UK at the beginning of August and then Peter starting full-time with BRBC in September. This is great news for me personally and for the church as a whole!
But before I go, let me ask one thing from you… please pray. Please pray for them, for us as a church, and that this opportunity to have them at BRBC would bring a fruitful future for BRBC. This has been a long time coming and it would be easy to get clouded with excitement – but again, please pray that this would be all about God’s glory and BRBC’s future of making much of Jesus.
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