15th December 2016

The Pastoral Evangelism Leadership Council (PELC) has become the largest and oldest annual gathering of Seventh-day Adventist pastors and leaders in the world. With its theme for 2016 being 'Contend Together' and each session and sermon geared to help explore various levels of conflict on each level of ministry and to pursue solutions toward synergy and team-oriented service and mission, the atmosphere was highly charged from the onset. With internationally renowned preachers such as Dr Jerry Carter of the Calvary Baptist church, New Jersey and Dr Rudolph McKissick Jr of Bethel Baptist Institutional church, Florida in the line-up, it can only be said the listeners were on their feet shouting encouragement to the preachers in that 'call and response' manner as these occasions warrant.

However it was in the middle of the conference in one of the 5:00 pm sessions on 6 December 2016, whether by accident or design, former Brits were leaders of the service. Pastor Stefan Burton Schnull, a former pastor of the SEC (who now pastors Mount Holly Seventh-day Adventist church, New Jersey) led the invocation. doc21Naomi Parchment, a daughter of the North England Conference, led in the meditational music. She sang uplifting hymns such as 'Because He lives', 'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus', 'Great is thy Faithfulness' and 'Draw me nearer'; all who heard her were led and moved by her ministry in song. Naomi is a student at Oakwood University; she leads Praise and Worship for Pastor Carlton Bird at Oakwood church, also singing with the Aeolians of Oakwood University and has made her debut as a recording artist.

The scene was now set for 27-year-old Pastor Laurent Grosvenor to stand behind the sacred desk and expound a word. Pastor Grosvenor was born in Manchester, England and has been preaching since the age of 9 years old and God has blessed him to preach across the UK, USA, Barbados, Jamaica, Kenya, Bermuda, Trinidad and Canada.

In 2012, he graduated from Oakwood University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology. From there, he matriculated to Andrews University Theological Seminary where he completed the Master of Divinity degree 2014. While at Oakwood University, he served in several capacities and is a burton-stefan1recipient of the C D Brooks Evangelism Award. Since January 2015, he has served as the pastor of the Temple Gate church, Selma, Alabama.

Having said all this, many will remember him as the teenager who was referred to as 'Preacher Boy!' who preached, even as a teenager in many of our churches.

He entered the pulpit, undaunted and unflinching. Delivering his message as a man of years, expounding a word from John 21:14-21, a sermon entitled 'Living Beyond Jealousy'. He took time to lead us through Peter's experience with Jesus, posing deep thoughts for our quiet contemplation, like: "The gradient of God's grace is steeper than the gradient of your sin." "What do you do when the word you get from God is not a word you want to hear?" "When you focus on your God given mission, you have no time for jealousy."

Pastor Grosvenor's sermon delivery, his use of the text, the way he imparted the homiletical plot, had the audience responding with shouts, applause, even had well-wishers and encouragers on their feet. Dr Herbert was heard to have commented "Preacher Boy has come of age!"

Pastor Grosvenor took a moment to 'get real' as he shared his testimony of how he was given his first church. He told us how he went for an interview to become pastor of a sizeable church which had a lot going for it. Yet after the interview he was later told he did have a job but it was not so prestigious and although in a historic area not a church that was renowned for anything. When he later enquired as to the reason he did not get the more prestigious position, he was told it was because others would get jealous. Later he could see God's hand was in the decision, as he could now see as a young 27-year-old he was not ready or experienced enough for that responsibility.

It is evident that God used him to minister to ministers, many of whom were his senior. We thank God for Pastor Grosvenor and pray that his ministry will continue to be a blessing to others and to God.


[Patrick Herbert]


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