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Commemoration of 40 years' ministry

13 November 2017

Trinity Congregational ChurchOn 14 October 2017, Trinity Chapel Brixton commemorated the 40th anniversary of the ordination of its minister, Alan Argent, on 1 October 1977 at Trinity. A week later he was inducted into the ministry of St Helier Congregational Church, Morden. In addition he became minister of Dundonald Congregational at Wimbledon in 1987, once that church had closed (temporarily as it turned out). That he was minister of two churches for 30 years and of three for 20 years, enabling him so far to have completed 90 years of ministry, as he teasingly claimed.

Gathered together to commemorate Alan’s ministry were friends from even earlier than 1977. One old primary school friend attended the event, as did three from his secondary school, one of whom was responsible for bringing Alan to Trinity in the winter of 1960. They were members of the Boys Bible Class where the teacher led through his generosity and willingness to share his life which softened the shocks of adolescence. They also attended the Boys Club and later the Youth Club.

Both the minister and the Bible class teacher died fairly early - 59 and 58 respectively - so perhaps Trinity’s Christianity then was too demanding and even wasteful of the best human resources. Alan met Yvonne Evans at Trinity and they were exact contemporaries at university. She was at UCL when he was a long haired lout at LSE. Yvonne gave him a cultural education – galleries, museums, theatres, Wales and her death 11 years ago was a shock, coming on the day of their 30th wedding anniversary. Alan confessed that the arrival of the children - Tina, Thomas and Lisa – brought different demands (which he said that he sometimes rose to) but training for the ministry at Cambridge and postgraduate work in history revealed his different interests. Trinity’s people are delighted that he has produced a few books on history.

His involvement in the Congregational Federation meant that he has sat on committees which sometimes was rewarding. His many friends at St Helier and Dundonald help him to realise that when you leave a church’s ministry you must just let go. Ten years of marriage to Jane have brought unexpected delights which still continue and, of course, his ministry depends on support from a dedicated but not numerous bunch of friends at Trinity.

Alan stressed that the characteristic Christian virtue is humility but, given the 65 or so old friends and new at the occasion, he was grateful for forgiveness. All bitterness and rancour must be put behind as we all continue to develop and grow. He recommended love and understanding to the gathering.