Mike Reith

planting on the Becontree Estate in NORTH EAST LONDON

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Mike grew up in a nominal Anglican home in Ceylon, where his Father was a tea planter.

At the age of 14, when Sri Lanka was given its independence, his family was forced to leave. They came to England and lived in West London. After education he followed his father into the City where he worked in a merchant bank. During this time he also served in the Territorial Army.

He was converted through his attendance at St Helen’s Bishopsgate. This wonderful Christian family provided him with fun, patient love and encouraging truth. And he remains grateful for all he learnt there about God’s gracious character and saving purposes. At this time he met and married Debbie, a speech therapist and farmer’s daughter from Shropshire.

When serving at St Helen’s began to compete with his responsibilities to his employers, something had to give. Encouraged to seek ordination in the Church of England, Mike went through the selection process that led him to Oak Hill Theological College for three years of study. After a four year curacy in Kendal, he worked for a church in Leyland for seven years, first as curate then as its first vicar. He then worked as vicar of Dagenham Parish Church, where he remained for twenty years. In that time he partnered with other local evangelical parishes in mission, training and church planting. He also led the local Gospel Partnership.

Together with about a dozen others, Mike has launched a church plant to reach the Becontree council estate. Twice a week this new church plant knocks on doors and has been encouraged by the response of people in a mixed-race community. The Lord has graciously encouraged the team through the provision of a place to meet, a home for Mike and Debbie, and by their first baptisms.

Mike and Debbie have two grown up children. They also have a black Labrador who helps keep old age at bay!

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