Thank you Pastor Ricky and Sister Jackie for your many years of serviceYahweh be magnified! Phil 2:20
A wonderful evening was had at Hope Community Church on Sat 12 November 2016. Although we were there to wish farewell to Pastor Ricardo Christopher, after 24 years of pastoring, it felt more like we were just having a lovely walk along memory lane. Many of the original brethren were there to honour and share memories and expressions of love.
Ricky was just 28 years old when he was appointed Assistant Pastor (to Pastor T F Poorman) and the Greek Church. He took over in 1993 when Pastor Michael Charalambous (now Overseer of Cyprus and Israel) left. Pastor Michael says, “Ricky was thrown into the deep end but learnt how to swim. Pastoring is a very difficult job and lonely. Everyone runs to the Pastor; the Pastor has no-one to run to but God”.
There were many others who spoke. Soula said, “He is a quiet but strong man”, Thailia said, “He is a Pastor and Friend, humble whilst teaching through his vast knowledge”. Tina, “He was ‘Thin’, always fasting and praying”. Dora said, “A man after God’s own heart, he left a wonderful mark in our lives.” Natalie, “Ricky did a Mix Tape of over 30 ‘Grenglish’ songs to help us in our worship and he taught us the value of serving with a cheerful heart”. Another said, “He prayed the most powerful prayer of our lives – never enjoy yourselves when you go out and sin“.
Leia (now living in Texas) did a video tribute and in it said, “Ricky was the embodiment of real grit and perseverance”. Chris said, “Ricky was super smart, much more than he lets on and at the same time a no-nonsense guy. Someone I can look up to.”
Another person who could not be there was Minister Sam Chen but making use of technology, he spoke through video link. He said that Pastor Ricky was going into his “next phase for King and Kingdom.” He reminded him that he should “love the Lord of the work and not the work of the Lord”. Pastor Matthew Toussaint was up next and pronounced, “Wherever your feet shall tread you will have great success”. Minister Dr Trevor Adams took to the stand. He has known Ricky since the 80’s when they were part of the Youth Life Team. One of the things that he shared was that, “Ricky is stepping down in order to step up. Another season is beginning but this one has to end”. There were many more tributes shared but it is not possible to cover them all. Needless to say, that they all had a similar vein which spoke of an amazing man and his dear wife and family and that they will be greatly missed.
I must add that we watched a few blasts-from-the-past videos of the Knock Knock Ministries. I can testify that they did some amazing plays back in the day and that when watched today were still powerful and relevant.
It is a shame to have to end this review but I will end it with the words of three men, first Joshua Arlar (the stand in Pastor) – “Ricky is a True Servant of God. I have had quite a few teachers but the best teacher is you. The church has grown under you. We are faithful to one another and you brought that”. And then Ricky himself, “At the age of 28 I fell in love, not with a person but with a group of people and became ‘Baba’ (father), called by the elders. I will always love you. As for me, my times and my days are in the hands of the Lord. As long as Christ is in the boat, everything is going to be fine.” Finally, Bishop Wilton Powell OBE (previous National Overseer) who said, “I have the highest regard and respect for Ricky. Leading the Church and reaching beyond borders. I pray a future of great expansion beyond your borders.” Read by the Regional One North Overseer, Pastor Errol A Williams.
I conclude this write-up by saying, AMEN!
Wembley Church Reporter, Sister Sar’i McLean, 12 November 2016. Photo by Brother Michael Campbell
Bishop Wilton Powell, OBE
Previous National Overseer
Expressions of Appreciation
for Senior Pastor Ricardo Christopher & Family
Ricky as he is affectionately known, is one that I have the highest regards and respect for. I have observed his strength of character and seen him grown intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Leading the church in the areas of diversity and social inclusion reaching beyond our borders.
It has been an absolute joy working with you Ricky, and I can hardly believe that one so young has been serving the church and community in the role as Senior Pastor for twenty-four years. Well done and thank you and Jacqueline for your faithfulness and diligence in all matters. I pray that the future will be one of great expansion for you as an individual and allow you the capacity to maximise your best abilities for His glory.
I am very sorry that due to prior family commitments, I am unable to be with you to deliver this expression in person. I trust looking forward that our paths will cross.
On behalf of my wife, Olive and I, please accept our sincere love and appreciation.
Bishop Wilton R Powell, OBE, FRSA