This year, 2019, I mark 30 years of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and twenty-five years of Baptist ministry. A couple of years ago a batch of old videos from the early days of my ministry were discovered. I am looking into having them restored to their original quality. If you wish, take a stroll down memory lane with me.
- Sean Carter
'Walking by faith, is an adventure, you never know where it will take you! The average life consists of less than 1,000 months, it is too short to live a boring life so let's make it count!' This statement, often said by Sean throughout his ministry, has certainly proven to be true in the adventurous ministry Sean has had to date.
Our Minister is the Revd Sean Carter, an Ordained and Accredited Minister of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Born in Kent, Sean felt the call of God at an early age. He joined the Royal Navy at sixteen as an Engineering Mechanic followed by service in the Merchant Navy. During this time he completed a Diploma in Theology focussing on Pastoral Sociology, followed in time by a further Diploma at Spurgeon's Theological College on Mission, Church Planting and Contemporary Evangelism and then a Degree in General Theology.
Sean's First Ministry was in Northamptonshire where he was minister of two rural village churches and an assistant Chaplain to Gartree Prison. He gained skills and qualifications in counselling and life-coaching. During this period of time he also travelled widely and his speaking ministry took him to many places around the UK and abroad, places such as Cambodia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Pakistan, and many other countries including the Philippines where he met the future Mrs Meldy Carter.
Sean and Meldy have been married for 21 years and have a son, Joshua aged 20 and a daughter, Hannah, aged 18.
Sean stayed in Northamptonshire for seven and a half years, after which he moved to Walmer Baptist Church in Kent and stayed there for seven and a half years studying amongst other topics Christian Psychology focussing on how the brain and spirituality operate together to enable us to have a successful and fulfilled life. During this time Sean was a Chaplain for the British International Sailors Society (Now the Sailors Society), ministering and counselling to the crews of the ships coming into the Port of Dover, and the people staying at the local Seaman's Mission that Sean worked from when on Chaplaincy duties. He was also a volunteer member of the Walmer Lifeboat crew saving lives at sea and was involved in some dramatic rescues at sea. Less exciting, but equally important, he was a School Governor for several years supporting the local Primary School.
After ministry at Walmer, Sean re-joined the Royal Navy and took the Queen's Commission and became a Royal Navy Military Chaplain. He trained at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth and then served on HMS Ocean, then at RNAS Yeovilton, before becoming the Minister of St Columbus Naval Church at RNAS Culdrose. During this time Sean, along with a chaplaincy team, worked with the medical professionals and within the divisional system on the base to provide effective pastoral care for over 3,000 people, and had managerial and pastoral oversight of an Internet Café and some Social Housing, as well as being the Charity officer for the base, deciding how and when to give charitable donations on behalf of the personnel of the Royal Navy based at Culdrose, many of whom who gave a percentage of income to charitable projects. In addition to general pastoral care and counselling, Sean and the team also used the SMART and GROW life-coaching models to help people reach their full potential. On a regular basis, up to 30 people between the ages of 16-36 would come for a SDC (Spiritual Development Course) where new naval recruits in Phase 2 of training would be taught to understand their mortality in a military context where losing one's life in action was a very real possibility. Sean re-wrote and designed the course and provided a new syllabus, and also lectured, wrote and led courses on topics such as Leadership Skills and Management, Pastoral Care in a Military Context, Safeguarding Vulnerable People, Public Speaking Skills, and many other diverse topics offering people the chance to learn new skill.
Sean was specially trained to use the TRIM system (Trauma Risk Management) to assist and recognise service personnel returning from combat situations with potential PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). After leaving Culdrose Sean became a fleet chaplain to RN ship's in Portsmouth and after specialised Sea Training, which included helping to organise disaster relief efforts, he travelled widely as a sea going Chaplain on numerous Naval ships; HMS Dauntless, HMS Lancaster, HMS Richmond and others, and sailed to places such as Antarctica, the Caribbean, Africa, Western and Eastern Europe and many other places.
Sean and his family moved to Halstead in September 2014 and took up a part time position as minister of the church. He specifically went part-time so he could work on writing several books, the first of which is soon to be published. In order to sustain part-time ministry, Sean also runs a successful art and photography business when not writing or working at the church, using both natural talent and skills acquired to create spectacular pieces of bespoke commissioned artwork which are then sold.
At Halstead, Sean's ministry has encouraged the church to have a deeper knowledge of the Word of God and an ever growing vibrant relationship with the Holy Spirit, the results of which will be, we will think big, have higher aspirations and ambitions for the Kingdom of God expressed through the Church on a local level. To Sean the greatest tragedy is not trying and not succeeding, but being too afraid to try new things in the first place. Sean says, 'Christians always need a fresh baptism of the imagination so that we can break barriers and expand on new frontiers. We should have high aspirations and plan big and bold, recognising the lengths God has gone to through Jesus Christ. We are called to be a light and a blessing to our communities and share this wonderful and beautiful Gospel of Christ, and that is just what we will be and do.'
The church has now purchased a commercial property on Halstead High Street, and Sean manages the Rivers of life project and develops ministries that continue to change people's lives for now and eternity. The next stage of the adventure has begun.
Email Sean at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 01787 479965 if you would like to speak to him.