Long-serving Norwich Baptist pastor retires
Rev David Adams, one of Norwich’s longest serving and influential ministers is due to retire this Sunday, March 30, from Witard Road Baptist church, where he had been the Pastor since the mid-1990s. Jenny Seal reports.
David (aged 66), and wife Sandra, leave the church on the edge of the Heartsease estate with an impressive, recently redeveloped building with the capacity to provide conference and training facilities for up to 250 people. But as he reflects on his time at Witard Road, it is not the physical improvements that David counts as his success.
He said: “Several people have said to me: “what a wonderful legacy you’ve left”, in the context of how the whole site has completely been redeveloped. But that isn’t how I see my legacy at all.
“I never came into ministry to build a building. It happened because it was needed, and God opened up the way and provided for it, but my legacy, I hope, will be in the lives of many, many people who have seen something more of Jesus because of what we’ve been able to do.”
When David reflects on his ministry it is always in terms of serving as a team alongside his wife Sandra. The couple both grew up within 150 yards of Witard Road, became Christians on the same day and have been married 45 years. Sandra has played a significant role in the life of the church, particularly sharing the pastoral visiting and providing a sounding board to David.
David said: “Sandra is the balancing force in my life. I see the vision, I run towards things, I don’t always stop and consider. Sandra is the one who says: “yes, but…” However people would regard the fullness of the ministry that we’ve had here, it would not have been anything like so full had we not done it together.”
While their training and early ministry took them to Texas and Kidderminster in the 1980s, the couple returned to Norwich in 1987 to establish a Bible teaching organisation, Christ for England. It was then that David got involved in the Together for Jesus project, which organised March for Jesus, and later became Unite.
Over the past 25 years David has helped lead many of the initiatives that have brought Christians together in prayer and worship across the city, including three city-wide Praise Pageants, Prayer in the Park in Chapelfield Gardens and the Global Day of Prayer.
He said: “When Christians across the board come together, particularly in prayer and out of that anything else that God leads them into, then that is a very positive thing and a very positive witness for the city.”
The couple are retiring to Lower Thorpe where, as well as spending more time with their family, they are looking forward to how God will use them next. David has joined the UK board of World Outreach International, which trains indigenous pastors for unreached peoples groups, but is open to exploring other things.
Sandra said: “We are excited about what the Lord will open up for us. It could be supportive work in the local church, but it could be something quite different. We are both in good health, so we are hoping that God will show us what that avenue is.”
David said: “I feel it confirmed in my heart that this is the right time for us to go onto the next phase of our lives. I hope to see that the best is yet to come for Witard Road however good things have been, and they have been good. God has been really faithful in so many ways. But God is still God, and the best is yet to come and we move on with Him.”
Paying tribute to David, Phil Thorne, Senior Pastor of City Church, Norwich, said: “David has been an active participant in city-wide events. He loved the thought of churches working together and has remained committed to meeting together in prayer and friendship.
“David is well loved and appreciated right across the city, and not least by me. I, along with so many, wish David and Sandra the very best in this his next season and know that the best is yet to come.”
David’s retirement service is at Witard Road Baptist Church, Sunday March 30, at 6.30pm, to which all are welcome.
Pictured above are David and Sandra Adams at Witard Road Baptist Church.