Minister says fond farewell

Lesley and Steve Carling are to leave Fleetwood's Emmanuel Church and will head off to Africa.
Lesley and Steve Carling are to leave Fleetwood's Emmanuel Church and will head off to Africa.

A popular Fleetwood church minister who has been based in the town for almost 20 years will give his final sermon at his church this Sunday.

Rev Steve Carling has been the senior minister at Emmanuel Church for more than six years and has served there for 19 years.

But the minister is set to leave not only Fleetwood but Britain when he and wife Lesley depart in June to begin a new adventure in Africa.

The couple, who have three grown-up children, will take a 12 month break when they travel in their Land Rover around the continent before plotting their next course.

It will be something of a homecoming for Steve, who was born in Nigeria, where his father was a medical missionary. Steve says he has enjoyed his time in Fleetwood and will miss many of those at the church and in the town.

John McLellan, associate minister at Emmanuel Church, said: “Steve’s time as the senior minister has seen some remarkable developments in Emmanuel’s life and growth and he and Lesley will certainly be missed.

“Anyone who knows Steve will have the opportunity to say farewell at his last services this Sunday.”

Those services on Sunday will be at the Emmanuel @ the Mount church at 10.30am and 6pm.

During his time as leader of the church, on Lofthouse Way, Steve has overseen the setting up of Emmanuel Church West, on the West View estate, and the purchase of the former Mount Methodist building where many services are now held.

Before joining Emmanuel, Steve worked for some years in both Nigeria and Ghana, training ministers in the rapidly-growing churches in those lands.

His leadership role will be taken over by Chris Kelsall who, with wife Sue and sons Liam and Joel, joined Emmanuel’s ministry team in September 2015.

*Steve will be discussing his time in Fleetwood and what he will miss most about the place when he chats with the Weekly News next month.