Norwich family's three generations of church leaders
2018: A Norwich family will be celebrating a special 50-year link with the London School of Theology (LST) on Saturday June 16 at the Celebrate Norfolk event at the Forum.
Former Christian Fellowship, Norwich, church leaders John and Doreen Betts both attended what was the London Bible College 50 years ago where they first met and subsequently got married.
Taking over from them as church leaders when they retired a few years ago were their daughter Clare and her American husband Duane Elkins.
And now, two of their granddaughters, Elizabeth and Rebecca Elkins are also studying at the LST, carrying on the Christian leadership tradition into a third generation.
Beth and Becca will join other members of the family at the Celebrate Norfolk event taking place at the Forum and on Millennium Plain in Norwich city centre on Saturday June 16 from 9-4pm. They will be manning an LST exhibition stand and performing as part of its choir at the event.
John and Doreen have been leaders of a number of churches and Christian projects in Norwich over the past 50 years
John, who is also project director of Celebrate Norfolk, said: “I was absolutely delighted when Beth felt God's call to go to the college which Doreen and I attended and even more so when her sister Becca also felt led to go there.
“Our family has three generations now serving the Lord - what an enormous privilege. It is wonderful to know that the next generation of Christian leadership is ready to take up the challenge.”
Beth said: “I had never heard of LST until I was looking for a university to study Theology at and my grandparents suggested I look at it. Until then I was unaware of the rich heritage the college has in training up next generation Christians and also of the significant role it had played in the history of my family. As my grandparents had met in this place, been trained up and sent out into the world, so this place has been a time of transformation, training and growth for me.
“It is exciting because I look at where God has taken my grandparents from their time at LST, how He has used them for His kingdom purposes, and then see myself and my fiancé continuing to build on their legacy with the foundations that LST has equipped us with. 50 years on and much has changed in the world, but the Mission of God remains unchanged,” said Beth.
Becca said: “Following in my grandparent’s footsteps was never something I intended to do. In fact, ending up at LST was the last thing I expected, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that God has a sense of humour. Going to the same school does mean I have to give frequent updates on what is happening in and about LST to which the response is always ‘cor, in my day…’
“There is always the general sense of pride in any legacy and the fact that I can follow in both my grandparents' footsteps is something that I will point out to other people on the way to the library who stop for long enough to see their faces in old black and white class photos on display.”
Pictured top are Norwich sisters and London School of Theology students Beth (left) and Becca Elkins and, above their grandparents Norwich church leaders John and Doreen Betts.