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Baptist minister moves to new pastures

PUBLISHED: 16:10 02 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 21 May 2010

Minister Alan Nelson, who is leaving Fakenham Baptist Church after 11 years in Norfolk.

Minister Alan Nelson, who is leaving Fakenham Baptist Church after 11 years in Norfolk.

The longest-serving minister for a century at Fakenham Baptist Church is moving to new pastures after 11 years in the town.

The Rev Alan Nelson will pack up for his new position in Dorset following his last service at the church in Mill Court on February 22.

The longest-serving minister for a century at Fakenham Baptist Church is moving to new pastures after 11 years in the town.

The Rev Alan Nelson will pack up for his new position in Dorset following his last service at the church in Mill Court on February 22.

He said the move was a new challenge and another opportunity to develop his contemporary style of worship, which often saw him leading the congregation in song with his guitar.

“It is about making the church more accessible to people, taking away the religious trappings and letting people see that it is modern now,” he said.

“We have made some good friends and people have been very supportive of us over the years, so we have enjoyed being here.

“We were pleasantly moved by a lot of the things people have said. It makes us think we have achieved something and that we have made an impact on some people's lives for the good.

“I think that is one of the memories we will take away, not what we have done, but what God has done in the time we have been here.”

Mr Nelson, 48, recently discovered that the only two ministers to have stayed longer at the church since it was founded in 1802 had left more than 100 years ago.

He was a governor at Fakenham High School for five years, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Ekklesia Project, which filled the gap left by the closure of the town's youth centre 10 years ago. The scheme has now evolved into an independent charity called EP Youth.

“The aim was to build a relationship so young people had an adult to turn to when their parents were not there or if they could not relate to them,” said Mr Nelson. “It gave them a role model at a time when so many young people's role models are not so good.

“Looking back, it is one of the things I am most proud of. I'm leaving behind something of value, something tangible.”

Mr Nelson and his wife Karen have a 16-year-old son, William, and an 18-year-old daughter, Georgina.

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