A CHURCH has welcomed its first full-time pastor in more than six years.
Reverend Steve Edge has taken up his position at St Timothy’s Lutheran Church, in Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland, after it received new financial support.
His predecessor, Rev Joel Humann, left in 2006 to take up a lecturing position at a training college.
Rev Edge, who was previously based at RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall, in Suffolk, said he was looking forward to his work in Sunderland, pledging to help the city’s homeless while carrying out his other church duties.
“When I arrived here, my first priority was to raise public awareness of St Timothy’s in the community and in the wider city,” said the 51-year-old.
“We became involved in the Winter Nightshelter Project, hosting the homeless in the church for one night a week and providing a cooked evening meal and breakfast.
“My wife and I had already fallen in love with Sunderland and with the small, but enthusiastic congregation that was desperately trying to keep their church open.”
The church was founded in the early 1950s, with the current building in Queen Alexandra Road consecrated in 1966.
Until 2010, the congregation was served by two pastors, who were completing postgraduate studies while providing Sunday services and limited support.
However, later that year, Rev Edge was asked to become “vacancy pastor”, while based at his former home in Suffolk, before relocating to Sunderland late last year.
“As vacancy pastor, while still living in Suffolk and having a call to a congregation there, I took responsibility for the pastoral care of the congregation at St Timothy’s, coming up here as often as I could and arranging for other clergy, retirees and lecturers to come up when I couldn’t,” he said. “This continued for two years until St Timothy’s was in a financial position to be able to call a full-time pastor.”
The church has a host of events planned in the coming weeks, including a summer fair on August 10 from 1pm to 4pm.
On October 4 and 5, it is also hosting a National Synod meeting, with guests from Lutheran churches across the UK and visitors from its overseas partner churches.