Hello my name is Darren. I have the privilege of serving as the Minister here at Eastwood Baptist Church along with my wife, Melanie who is our Children & Families' Worker. We have three great children called Daisy, Molly and Thomas who are still young enough to believe their Dad is cool! (But I don't think I have much time left on that one!) I love large mugs of tea, diet coke and our local cockles! As a family we support Exeter City and we have done so even in the dark days!
I started life in Bristol, in the shadow of Avonmouth Docks. Church was the place you went to for Weddings and Christenings and if you were good you got to go the party afterwards! I started going to church when I was 8 but at 16, despite life being a bit dramatic, thankfully I had become a Christian. A long story but I reluctantly ended up on a weekend with a bunch of ‘happy-clappy born-again types’ and although I knew the rules of Christianity I realised I knew nothing of the relationship I could have with Jesus! I became aware very quickly that those around me had something I lacked! God wanted to be my Father, my Saviour and my friend.
I got involved in Youth Work in Surrey and Devon before going to Winchester to train in Nursing. Whilst at University I married Melanie, having moved courses to Bristol so that I could be closer to her. Upon getting married we started going to our local Baptist church and we were both Baptised by emersion some six months later and on the same day! We had a great time at Shirehampton Baptist church leading children’s clubs, services, holiday clubs and School’s work. I also spent some time working for SWYM (South West Youth Ministries), a regional youth and school’s work strategic and training network. Before getting into Baptist Ministry my last job was as an Intensive Care Staff Nurse in Exeter.
Exmouth Baptist Church takes all the blame for the next part of my journey as they are the fantastic guys who recommended me for ministry. I was called by Okehampton Baptist Church to serve as their minister in training and then as their minister. OBC is a great little chapel in a heritage town at the foot of Dartmoor National Park where we enjoyed getting to know an amazing community. We also got to work with BBC Radio Devon, our local Air Cadets and a Foodbank project.
Now we are in Eastwood, the best little corner of Southend! People keep asking why we would leave Devon for Essex but we think this part of the world is a real treasure chest; the people are great, there is a load to explore and I've never seen so many takeaways! I am really excited about being here. This is a place full of opportunity and I am looking forward to not only helping the Church grow and developing partnerships with our local community.
God Bless - Hope to see you soon!