The Rt Revd Dr David Carr OBE has stepped down as Senior Pastor of Renewal Christian Centre 47 years after the Solihull church first opened its doors in 1972.
Bishop David Carr, who moved from his role as Marketing Director for the Professional Football Association in PFA Financial Services to leading a Solihull church that has grown to more than 1,600 people, will be succeeded as Senior Pastor by The Reverend Jonny Lee.
To mark the occasion, over 1000 people attended an Honour Service in recognition of Bishop David Carr’s services to Solihull and the wider community throughout nearly half a century. Guests included the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, The Reverend John Glass, former Chair of the Evangelical Alliance, and The Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Flo Nash.
Commenting on Bishop David’s work for the community, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said:
“We see the Kingdom of God beyond the limitation of denominations, as we have both sought to engage in Christian action in a diverse range of church communities. Our relationship, that reaches across different strands of the Christian church, was born out of a deep friendship formed during my time as Bishop for Birmingham; we had an instant affinity and respect for each other. It is a pleasure to be a part of an Honour Service to recognise David’s outstanding service over the past 47 years.”
The Mayor of Solihull, Flo Nash, gave a moving personal tribute to Bishop David at the Honour Service, saying:
“At a time when I needed someone to talk to you were there. We lost our son. I appreciated the care and concern you showed us, and so do other people because I know you have done this for special people, friends and families that you’ve had… It’s been a privilege for me and Alan to be classed as a friend for 15 years.
“I can’t say to you how much Solihull appreciates all the work that you put into the community and all the work that you do outside by travelling abroad. You will be truly missed. There are special things you have done in the past for loads of people. You have time on the wards, and you go and speak to everyone and I’m sure after seeing you and listening to you, it’s a joy. Sometimes people cry at your jokes, and other times people laugh. But at the end of the day that’s the sort of man you are. And I think that’s the sort of person that we hope replaces you as well. You really deserved the OBE because you have achieved such a lot and being around for 47 years has got to be good going for anyone.”
Bishop David, who is a chaplain to several hospitals in the Midlands and will take on the new role of Head of Chaplaincy for Renewal, said:
“There comes a time when the natural age diminishes the energy you need to see a church of this size progress, so you need to know when to hand over. I am confident that the spirit and vision are there, and I believe I have found a man of similar heart that I will be thrilled to serve under.
“I am going to play a supportive role, developing chaplaincy and new spheres of pastoral care, preaching and teaching as part of the team, as well as writing some books and training manuals. My vision has always been that the Heart of England will be impacted by Jesus Christ and that lives will be transformed, and we have been labelled the fourth emergency service by some people in Solihull because of our work for the community. Our vision is to see thousands of people in our locations across the Midlands, and the vision can outlive you if you pass it on to the next generation. There is a natural trust between me and Jonny Lee, and I will be pleased to serve his leadership going forward.”
As The Reverend Jonny Lee was formerly commissioned as Senior Pastor of Renewal, Steve Gambill, Lead Pastor of LIFE Church in Bradford, said:
“It was a real privilege to share in the Commissioning Service of new Senior Pastor Jonny Lee, as the vision of Renewal Christian Centre, founded nearly half a century ago by Bishop David Carr OBE, was formally passed on to the next generation. Renewal Christian Centre has served the community faithfully for over four decades. Now that legacy has been passed on to Jonny Lee in what is an exciting new chapter for the church, and good news for the heart of the nation. It is encouraging to see the church set up to increase its impact on the emerging generations to come. Exciting days are ahead.”
Commenting on his move to Renewal with his wife Louise and daughter Ava, and his appointment to the role of Senior Pastor, The Reverend Jonny Lee said:
“I was originally taken on to add value and strength to support the existing staff team, but we are overwhelmed by the privilege of leading such an amazing church. You hold in balance the trepidation of following something that has been so successful with the excitement of carrying on the good work and moving the vision forward. Louise and I love the people of Solihull and we want to see a church that knows how to engage with everyone, giving them a hope in Jesus.
“Renewal is known for the consistent teaching of biblical truth, a sense of the power of God, and a commitment to people through all generations and all cultures. In uncertain times, when the future is not clear, we feel we have an anchor that is steadfast and can change every human heart; that is what it means to follow Christ.”