Lewisham Mayor Visits For Investiture Service

This year, Lewisham Adventist Church’s annual Investiture day was made even more special, due to the presence of a prestigious guest: Sir Steve Bullock, the Mayor of Lewisham. He joined the congregation on the 28th of February to celebrate some of the good works the Pathfinders have done and award them with certificates and prizes.

To the sound of the drum core the Pathfinders marched in with their usual impeccable form. The precession was led by young Dante Grant cradling the Bible, with his sister Aria at his side. The church’s Pastor, James Phillip strode behind with the Mayor at his side, and with the Church’s Pathfinder club leader Jennifer Anti, as the rest of the club followed. At the command of Drum Corps leader Marcus Anti, the flag bearers entered, proudly bearing the Pathfinder, Adventurer, and the Union flags. As the flags were posted the club proceeded to recite their aim, motto, pledge and sing their song, there was a notable air of pride in the room; not just from the proud parents but from the entire body of the church as the majority of its youth stood, smartly clad in their uniforms. It was clear that the theme for the day was that of excellence and exceptional achievement among our youth. The Pathfinders’ discipline and thorough leadership was further demonstrated throughout the service, even through the collection of the offering, which was done quickly and efficiently.

As Director Anti took to the platform to deliver the Director’s report it was clear why she delights in working with the young people and promoting their achievements. The Pathfinder club is 150 members strong and is part of a global organisation that is over two million and counting. She then proceeded to outline the club’s many achievements during 2014, including visiting the elderly, attending Tooting Ghanaian church’s first Pathfinder day, opening Downham church’s first Pathfinder club, learning skills at curriculum weekend and at regular club sessions, witnessing, Oshkosh Camporee, camporee, community car washes and the tradition of taking part in Lewisham Borough’s annual Remembrance Day parade. One of the club’s greatest achievements however was that five Pathfinders were baptised last year and another five already for this year. We were also informed that the club’s previous leader Marlene Litchmore has started a Pathfinder club in Dubai, where she is currently teaching. In her Director’s Report Jennifer also announced her resignation as club leader, and introduced Dorothy Hilton as her replacement, aided by Shirley Williams and several others.

Pastor Phillip introduced the Mayor with his usual light humour, and praised him for his hard work in the borough especially with the youth. He then highlighted that since being elected in 2002 the mayor has served four terms, and noted this as a symbol of his competence and capability, crediting him as outstanding gentleman.

Sir Steve Bullock then addressed the church and thanked Pastor for his introduction and apologised on behalf of his wife  who was not able to attend the service. He also thanked the Pathfinders for their presence at the Remembrance Day ceremony. During his message to the young people he stated how impressed he was with club overall: their uniforms, the disciplined way in which they entered the church, and their commitment to their work. He then went on to say the Pathfinders are not only a credit to their proud families but also to the Borough of Lewisham and thanked them. He discussed the city of London and how it is both a place of opportunity and success but also at times, extremely dangerous, and also talked about the youth who are at risk in society, those who do not belong to a family or a wider community like the church, and stressed the importance of groups such as the Pathfinders in today’s society.

A short sermon was preached by Michael Agyei, a young man of Ghanaian heritage who was actually dedicated in Lewisham church many years ago, and who is now a leader at his local church as well as a preacher, motivational speaker, singer, poet who is soon to be married. His message echoed the words of the Mayor as he expressed pride in the club and went on to discuss what it’s like living in the Borough of Lewisham: to judge it by the statistics alone one may argue the cons outweigh the pros, but Michael, like the Mayor argued that the deviants among us are only a small minority. He continued to praise the youth, and spoke on the importance of their being of assistance to the community. His sermon, entitled ‘Call of Duty: Spiritual Warfare’ was brief but powerful and a perfect transition leading into the investiture ceremony where each beaming face in the club was presented with a certificate and a handshake from the Mayor. There were also special awards given for ‘Most Improved Pathfinder’ (Kayann Barnes) as well as Adventurer, Pathfinder and Junior Councillor of the year, which were awarded to Toby Mocc, Kayla Guthrie and Kyle Terrode. Gifts of thanks were presented to Sir Steve Bullock for his presence and to Director Anti for her hard work with the club over the years.

To end the service, the Pathfinder club coordinator Percy Fraser gave a final charge to the Pathfinders, urging them to go on in the good work they’ve become known for, after which the Pathfinders proceeded to march out of the church, bringing an end to the morning’s ceremony.

[ By Niquella Simpson-West]

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