UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
News from the wider church
News from Martin and Marion Cooper
Dear fellow travellers,
This will be our last formal newsletter, following my retirement this summer after almost fifty years of service with The UK Navigators.
It has been an amazing journey for Marion and me - literally, the journey of a lifetime - starting as newly-weds in Liverpool student ministry, and culminating during the last fifteen years at the opposite end of the age spectrum, in Second Half Living ministry throughout the four nations of the UK…..with so many other local, national and international adventures of faith in between.
Just before I came into contact with The Navigators, as a teenager at Manchester University in the mid-1960s, I had read a book entitled People Matter More Than Things. It was written by George Burton, whom I also had the privilege of meeting at the Mayflower Centre in the East End of London, a Christian Mission where he worked with Rev David Sheppard, one of my boyhood cricketing heroes.
A few years later, in our very first newsletter as Navigator staff representatives in 1973, ‘people’ figured very centrally, and we referred specifically to a Bible promise which we were claiming from the Lord – “Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed”. How wonderfully that has been fulfilled, in so many different contexts, for over almost half a century.
As well as our precious family, each of whom has been a special gift from God, we thank Him for every one of the spiritual “descendants”, so many of whom around the world have become such very dear friends – ex-students, church leaders, businessmen and women, and the wide variety of other lovely Christian people from whom we have received so many blessings as channels of God’s grace.
So now, what of the future? Our hearts’ desire is to continue to walk with the Lord, and to serve him as he leads us. Marion’s ongoing battle with Parkinson’s Disease inevitably carries with it some limitations for us both, but I am certainly hoping to be able to continue my 1-2-1 ‘alongsider’ (mentoring) relationships, currently with six men, and also facilitating the two Second Half Living groups with whom I meet.
But, as this particular chapter of your journey comes to a close, more than anything else we both want to express our immense gratitude to you for your love, encouragement, support, and prayers over many years.
Last weekend we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary – a wonderful day spent with our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren…albeit with the practical restrictions of our current lockdown! And, as we reflected on this special milestone, a particular Bible passage came to mind. It contains the words of Joshua towards the very end of his life, when he affirmed to all those around him: “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed”.
And this is our own experience & testimony too. God has been so gracious and faithful to us during fifty years of married life and ministry together. So, in the words of an old hymn: ‘We’ll praise Him for all that is past, and we’ll trust him for all that’s to come’.
With our fondest love and warmest thanks once again for walking the journey with us.
Posted on 27 Aug 2020