Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman

And Finally

This will be my last pastoral letter as minister of Emmanuel URC and Elmers End Free Church.

I thank every one of you most sincerely for all the love, help, support and encouragement you have given myself and Marion these past thirteen years. It has been a privilege and a joy to have ministered with you in growing the Kingdom and spreading the word and helping to share God’s love with the people of West Wickham and Elmers End as we have journeyed together.

It is my heartfelt wish and prayer that you will, as Paul encouraged the Thessalonians, to “Hold on to that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:20) Although after my retirement I will no longer be seeing you on a regular basis you will always be in my thoughts and prayers and I am grateful to have been so blessed to have shared so much with you during my time among you.

When, in the course of time, you call a new minister my wish would be for you to give him or her the same love, help support and encouragement you have shown to me over the years. Lots of good things are happening at both Emmanuel and Elmers End. May God richly bless you now and always in everything you do in Jesus’ name.

I leave you with the words of St Paul to the Philippians.

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-9)





“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people.”   (1 Corinthians 15:19)  So wrote the apostle Paul from the town of Ephesus, (which some of our number visited on our 2015 pilgrimage to Turkey) to the young church at Corinth (where again a party … Continue reading Easter

Mending Fences

In the bad weather in December a side fence at our sister church at Elmers End blew down and in the process one of the upright supports blocked a fire exit. Thanks to the excellent work carried out by our contractor, Gus Lansing and his team, EEFC now has a brand new fence and the … Continue reading Mending Fences

Fairtrade Fortnight

As I write, the country (especially Parliament!!) is divided on the ongoing issue of Brexit with no consensus of opinion seemingly in sight. The issue of trade agreements looms large in Britain’s negotiations with the EU. I think one trade issue we can all agree on regardless of political persuasion is that it is right … Continue reading Fairtrade Fortnight

New Year 2019

By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will have started. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters to several kind elderly aunties who always sent me Christmas presents. I remember … Continue reading New Year 2019

Light in the World

This year the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights begins the same day as the Christian church celebrates Advent Sunday (2nd December). Hanukkah is an eight day celebration and runs to the evening of Monday, 10th December. The origins of Hanukkah go back to second century BC when the Greek … Continue reading Light in the World

Texan Talk

As I write, in a little over a week, I am off to Houston, Texas where I am officiating at the wedding of Matt and Kristen on 3rd November. I am looking forward to my visit not only for the wedding but I have always been a bit of a Western fan as well as … Continue reading Texan Talk

Spiritual Gifts

I have just returned from a few days away at a URC Ministers’ Conference at High Leigh in Hertfordshire. Among the topics we discussed were what the apostle, Paul calls, “Spiritual Gifts.” In some churches, mainly those from a Pentecostal background, the main spiritual gifts are considered to be things like prophesying and speaking in … Continue reading Spiritual Gifts

All Change

September is a month of change. Primary school children change to a different class, year 6 to a different school. Secondary pupils change to a different year or change from school to university or college and for some they change from school to the world of work. In the natural world the seasons change throughout … Continue reading All Change


Well the football World Cup is over and the England team came so very close!! Well done to Gareth Southgate and his squad, apart from nearly pulling off the ultimate prize they also pulled their country together in a positive way for a couple of exciting weeks of eager expectancy. While the World Cup is … Continue reading Football


Marion and I have just recently returned from holiday on the Isle of Wight. I hadn’t visited the island for at least twenty years and I’d forgotten how nice it was. While Marion and her sister and brother-in-law were undertaking the considerable feat of walking the entire island coastal path – a distance of 80 … Continue reading Encouragement

Royal Wedding

I am writing this on the morning of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just after I have seen a young couple who are getting married at Emmanuel in September. All this wedding talk brought to my mind the number of times the marriage motive and wedding themes are mentioned in the Bible. … Continue reading Royal Wedding