Minister- Peter Whitaker

Hello and welcome. I have been at Leighmoor for four years now. For me it has been a very rewarding ministry.

Together we are exploring what it means to be a missional church as opposed to a Christendom model church. (You will find a more expansive comment on Christendom and Missional model churches in the section ‘Theological Reflections’.) We have come along way in two years and there is a real openness to this concept in this faith community that was raised in the Christendom church model. I offer a simple definition of a missional church as a church that has missionaries not members. We have committed ourselves to acting evangelically by using the ALPHA course. This has been a real blessing to the 12 participants in our initial one. And others in the church are wanting to sign up for this year’s course. Evangelism begins with us. Evangelism is at the heart of mission say theologians like David Bosch and Darrell Guder. Of course this is only the beginning and we have a long way to travel.

The ministry at Leighmoor is underpinned by a lively music programme spearheaded by my wife, Gillian. The pulpit ministry attempts to open the scriptures to understand the intentions and understandings of the original writers and readers of the 1stCentury church, and what this means for us.

I have come to this church with a deep sense of call and a love for God in Christ who has transformed my life. I love the church and believe God wants to see it prosper as a lighthouse to the wider community. In these first two years we have seen discernable personal and congregational growth.

I hope you find this brief introduction of Leighmoor and myself as minister helpful, and I offer these following general comments on my background.

Years of academic reading in the field of New Testament, articularly at Tyndale House, Cambridge UK, , have enriched my life. I have focussed on educational practice and research, but have also reflected on how the Church might relate the Gospel to students in a secular institution. I continue to read widely always coming back to the Bible and the history behind the New Testament churches.

Ordained in 1972, I have had 22 years of parish ministry in South Africa, Wales and Australia. A significant part of my ministry has been in Christian Education with six years as a chaplain, and almost twelve years as the chief executive officer of the Council for Christian Education in Schools (Access). Many things have shaped my life but not least my conversion experience and ministering in a country torn apart by racism.

As much as my ministry is my life, I also embrace life on a wider front. My wife, Gillian, is a music teacher and a fine accompanist. She joins me in this ministry as my friend, critic and partner in the Gospel. Together we enjoy music, reading, films, theatre, bushwalking, motorcycling, and I am a very enthusiastic dinghy sailor. Our three grown-up children, Bradley, Robyn, Heather and their partners Bianca, Peter and John, fill our lives with much pleasure, as do our two grandchildren, Jasmin and Keir. We can’t exclude ‘Spyder’ our black cat – our constant companion at home.

(Rev) Peter Whitaker

M.A., B.D., Dip, Ed.