John and Doreen retire from New Hope
2006: John and Doreen Betts
retired from the senior leadership of New Hope Christian Centre
last weekend (Sept 24) after 40 years of Christian service in Norwich. Duane and Clare Elkins
have taken over the role.
The well-known couple came to Norwich from the West Midlands in 1969 when John became the pastor of a Baptist church in the city and have stayed ever since.
“We have seen immense changes in the city and church during that period” said John. “We have lived with our successes and our failures and seen the Lord do amazing things.”
Doreen has served the city and churches in Norwich as a magistrate, a co-founder and chair of the Magdalene Group and Chair of Community Action Norwich.
John, as well as being a church leader, had the vision for Festival Norwich whose continuing legacy is Good News for Norwich newspaper and is currently the chair of Transforming Norwich.
Although John will no longer be the senior leader at New Hope, he and Doreen will continue to be actively involved in the work and ministry of the church and CAN. They offer training to leaders and potential leaders in England and overseas, especially in Africa, where they have been on numerous occasions. John says, “There is nothing quite like releasing the potential in God’s people and seeing them begin to fly.”
At New Hope Duane and Clare Elkins will be the new senior leaders. They have three young children, Elizabeth (9), Rebecca (7), and Jonathan (3). Duane is from Texas but has been working in Norwich for some years now. He has been serving in the dual role of project manager for Community Action Norwich and Pastor of New Hope.
CAN has seen considerable development under his leadership and our links with the community have been greatly increased. Clare serves as the children’s leader, as well as her wider role, and has been responsible for some exciting innovations in the children’s work. We have experienced growth in that work in both church and community.
“We believe that as a couple we have a great deal to offer and are excited to be coming to this role at such a time in the life and work of the church in Norwich,” they said. “We have a brilliant team at New Hope and together we feel we are well set for expansion and development.”
John said: “Duane and Clare have found unanimous acceptance amongst the church members. They have been part of the life and work of the church for years which will enable a seamless change over of leadership. Having a couple, with a family, as leaders will mean that there is balance at the top of the church and an awareness of the needs and aspirations of all.”
Pictured top are John and Doreen Betts and above, Duane and Clare Elkins.