It’s with sadness that we announce to the wider Baptist family the passing away of Andrew Gardiner, minister of Hope Baptist Church Plymouth. Andrew was previously the youth pastor at Mutley before becoming pastor at Hope in 2003. Andrew was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and developed a new ministry, “Rising Hope” which has featured twice on Songs of Praise in that time… please see below.
After a difficult few weeks, during which his faith never wavered, he passed away peacefully at home with his family on 28 March. A Thanksgiving Service for Andrew’s life will be held on Monday 16th April at 6.30pm at Mutley Baptist Church, Plymouth. Following the service there will be coffee and cake. Dress code is anything bright – preferably yellow! Please pray for Andrew’s wife, Katherine and his children, Dan, Joe and Amy at this difficult time.
Rising Hope Foundation
Some of you will have come across the Rising Hope ministry, which God gave to me as it became clear, that in battling cancer, it was not going to be possible to continue in pastoral charge of our beloved church in Plymouth.
The writing of songs, poems made into bookmarks and, I hope very soon a book, was as big a surprise to me as anyone else. But…. it has led to God’s blessing, and using these resources in the lives of thousands more people than I was ever going to reach through the local church.
For me, having cancer has established a platform from which I can testify to my faith, and proclaim the gospel of Jesus to countless places in the UK, as well as more than 100 countries through radio broadcasts. Including launching the 2nd song/single on the Radio 2 breakfast show, and then being given 5 minutes on Songs of Praise in December, and more programme time in January.
I hope you might understand if I say that it is a most unwanted Ministry, but one that God in His wisdom has chosen to give me, and I have chosen to embrace it, in the midst of darkness, pain and devastation for my family.
The songs on the CD’s are being used by God around the country to bless, encourage, help and strengthen many people. I can honestly say that not a day goes by without my hearing another story of how the words have touched people’s lives.
Churches are using them in SO many ways.
I would now like to explain about the second, really important part of Rising Hope. The FOUNDATION:- This came out of a 2am conversation with the Lord back in November where I felt His clear direction.
I believe that it came about because of my strong conviction that we need to give young people in our churches the vision, the equipping and the financial support for them to get actively engaged in mission and evangelism. I do not think it’s going too far to go to say that the long term future of the church in the SW depends upon this happening.
There are now very few, if any Trusts or grant making bodies which will fund young Christians in engaging in mission. It doesn’t matter how much you dress it up, or describe it…. the money is just not there anymore.
My 24 years experience here in the SW shows me how much this has changed. Many grant-making bodies now explicitly state they will NOT give money to faith-based activity or religious groups.
If we are going to see the funding of young people in the South West for mission and evangelism, something new has to happen. Someone has to do something about it, and for some reason only known to God, I think it’s me!
But I need you, and many others to PLEASE stand with me in this and invest, even just small amounts in the Rising Hope Foundation, now launched at our SWBA conference.
This is vital. It’s about us, and our churches, all investing together in a fund to support young people in the things I have set out on paper, but can also be seen on the FOUNDATION section of our website: www.risinghope.co.uk
I do not think that any individual, or any Church can do this alone. The new RH Foundation is simply a catalyst.
It’s about us all in the SW putting in, perhaps modest amounts, maybe larger ones ones….but in doing so building a large fighting fund worth thousands of pounds which will financially equip young Christians to get on and get involved in mission, here in the SW, the UK and far beyond.
With whatever God-given time I have left on earth, which may not be long, I am establishing this vital legacy for the future.
I’m simply asking you to please, please prayerfully, seriously and as quickly as possible to get involved, and bring your church on board too. Time is short. Everything is in place for the Foundation to continue long into the future, as long as the funding is there.
Personally, I have……
- Identified stuff in our house and just sold it to raise money.
- Started tithing, to boost the income and make this happen, because we can see God is in it, and it’s crucial it happens.
- We have started telling many other Christians about the Foundation.
The message of the latest song “I am held by you“… is a pastoral gift for you to buy and give to those struggling, in one of life’s traumas.
It reached No.1 in the top 100 iTunes Religion and faith chart and we have sold etc over 700 copies of the CD far.
If you contact the website above I can put 6 copies for £5.00 into your hands. A lasting message to give away… to help people who are struggling in life…. better than cards or flowers. It can be played over and again.
The following article is reproduced from the Baptist Times
In despair following a cancer diagnosis, a Baptist minister experienced a sudden burst of creativity on an oncology ward which has resulted in him penning a series of songs about God and faith
The Revd Andrew Gardiner, minister at Hope Baptist Church in Plymouth, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May. The cancer had spread to his liver by August.
As he underwent aggressive treatment, deeply frustrated and in turmoil at being “snatched” from his place in local church ministry, he discovered God was enabling him to do something new: write a succession of songs, poems and even a book.
‘To my astonishment, it started in the middle of the night in a hospital ward,’ Andrew said.
‘Three songs came. I haven’t done anything like this for decades – no time!’
In total Andrew has now written 20 songs, as well as a number of poems. He is also 11 chapters into a book, called The Tunnel, for which he is looking for a publisher.
He’s called his new ministry Rising Hope: ‘a ministry of light, emerging from a dark place,’ he explained.
‘Rising Hope is me seeking to minister to others when I have been taken out of local church ministry due to cancer treatment. I have been dragged against my will into a dark place – “the tunnel”. It’s a place of darkness, fears, loss and confusion.
‘But in this place I have discovered God does some things which are surprising and new.
‘I still have a calling to proclaim Christ and spread the gospel, so I have to find alternative ways of doing that.
‘Rising Hope is a new vehicle….until I can get back in the old one that I love.’
There is a website and a Facebook page. The first song was released on iTunes last Wednesday. Called True Identity, it looks at who we are in Christ. A friend who fronts a band has recorded it, while his daughter appears in the video that accompanies it. (It can be viewed below.)
‘I have had to ask myself some big questions about who I am when I’m not ministering anymore,’ Andrew said.
‘I have had to learn afresh about who I am when I’m NOT doing (ministry), but being.
‘I hope that hundreds of others will get the message about who we are In Christ, what he has done to make this possible, and how that changes how we see ourselves, our lives, our present priorities and future dreams.
‘I am desperate to see people released into being who they really are, coming fully into our inheritance.’
He is now about to embark on a third course of chemotherapy, after the first two failed to shrink the tumours.
‘I still don’t feel ill from the cancer – I hardly have over the 8 1/2 months to be honest. But the treatment has made me very ill, off and on.
‘I did have pain in my liver and colon, but after an evening of prayer with friends who came to our house it disappeared the next day….that was November, and its not returned!
‘I am emotionally very up and down, and have physical (unexplained) abdominal pain, all day, every day.
‘But I carry 2 Corinthians 4: 8-12 in my soul.’
Rising Hope Ministry have produced Andrew’s Advent Poem on a bookmark which is available for purchase for just 30p from their website – great to give out to guests at church carol services! All proceeds from sales support,
- Individual young people from the South West of England getting involved in mission and evangelism, in the SW, in the U.K., and to the “ends of the earth”.
- Christian mission ventures, involving 12 – 25 year olds, organised in the South West of England
- Church youth groups, from the South West of England, engaging in mission ventures in the UK and abroad.