Moderator' Retirement celebrations - Terry's life story.

Terry gives the 'Call to Worship'Joan Oakley reads from Jeremiah

Terry was baptised at West Avenue Methodist Church, Gosforth (now Trinity M/URC), attended Sunday School at St John's Presbyterian Church in Wooler Square, Wideopen and then was received into membership at the age of 16, when the church had moved to Canterbury Way. The minister at the time was the Revd Donald Gaddes. Terry helped to lead worship with other members of the Fellowship of Youth.

Elizabeth Nash remembers life at Theological CollegeDavid Gardiner leads prayer

Even at this point Terry felt a call to be a minister and chose to study Sociology at University as part of his preparation. He candidated through Newcastle Presbytery whilst at University and in 1968 began his ministerial training at Westminster College, Cambridge. He did a placement at St Marks M/URC in Greenwich with the Revds David Gardner and David Clarke.

Terry, Joan and some 'special' guestsPenny Hennessey leads a prayer

Ormskirk Street, St Helens was Terry's first pastorate. The Church was a union of Tolver Street Presbyterian Church and Ormskirk Street Congregational Church. He was ordained on 9th July 1971 to a team ministry with the Revd Wynford Evans. The preacher was the Revd Henry Gordon. In 1972 the United Reformed Church was created and the ministry of helping the two congregations become one was accomplished. A new building was in the planning stage, and that was useful experience for the next ministry at Bethesda in Runcorn, Cheshire, where Terry was inducted in 1973. The old church building was demolished and a new one built in Palace Fields estate in the New Town. The Revd Bob Andrews preached and the Revd John Williamson, the Moderator of Mersey Synod, presided. An ecumenical team covered most of Runcorn and Terry worked with Anglican colleagues in Palace Fields and Brookvale. Grahame Shaw was the first colleague, then David Vanstone and finally Raymond Dent. Terry was 'Recognised and Regarded' as a Methodist minister, and this was a 'Special Category Ministry' post within the URC. Terry had his first sabbatical in the autumn term of 1979 and at St Andrew's College, Selly Oak, Birmingham reflected on his own evolving theology and studied mission in the international community where training was offered for those going to be mission partners across the world. In 1980 Terry and family moved to Emmanuel Church, Waterthorpe, which was part of the Mosborough Ecumenical Parish in Sheffield. Michael Hennessey preached. Again there was an ecumenical team, representing the four participating churches in the LEP: Desmond Carnelley, Wallace Jenkins, Alan Barker and Trevor Mather. The church was young, lively and growing. New members were received most years and the church was attached to a middle school and community centre. Terry was again was 'Recognised and Regarded as a Methodist minister, and even went to Conference. He was also Ministerial Children's Secretary for the Sheffield Methodist District.


Deborah reads from John's GospelRosemary Johnston remembers life at Church House

In 1986 Terry was appointed as Secretary for Faith and Life, a General Assembly post based in London. The remit included children and youth work, Christian Education and Stewardship, Health and Healing, Doctrine and Worship. The newly opened Windermere Centre Management Committee was also included within the Department. The departmental team included, Paul Quilter, Youth Secretary, later followed by Paul Franklin, the growing team of Youth Leadership Training Officers (now CYDOs) with their manager Eileen Sanderson, and Graham Cook, the director of the Windermere Centre.

In this period the Ginger Groups based at Yardley Hastings evolved into the Community team part of the National Youth Resources Centre. Martin Nicholls was the first Director when it opened in 1991. Church membership was at Palmers Green URC which offered a very warm welcome. A second sabbatical in 1993 was spend in pilgrimage to Celtic and Reformed centres,including Iona, Taize, Agape and the cities of Geneva and Wittenberg, with Michael Harrison as a companion.

Following re-organisation, Terry became Deputy General Secretary briefly, before he was called to be Development Officer for Northern Synod in 1995. Duncan Wilson and Elizabeth Nash preached at his induction. Living in Riding Mill, near Hexham, he worked with local churches across the Synod from Berwick to Barnard Castle, and Whitley Bay to Whitehaven, and six churches in Scotland who had become part of the URC with the union with the Churches of Christ. Following the further union with the Scottish Congregational Church in 2000 these became part of the Synod of Scotland. Terry completed his MA in Contextual Missiology with Manchester University through Northern College in 2000.


Clare, Duncan and Steven remember life in the Synod Terry Oakley 

In 2003 Terry was called to be Moderator of East Midlands Synod, and was inducted at London Road, Kettering where Carolyn Smyth preached and Alastair Pratt, Moderator of General Assembly at the time, presided. Terry worked with the other Synod officers - Irene Wren and Don Buxton, and more recently Duncan Smith and Richard Turnbull; and as part of the team of Elizabeth, Colin and Robert and recently Deborah. A wider team has also grown, to include others working part time across the Synod. An important part of the role is to meet and work with leaders of other churches across the region. The last seven years have been marked by re-organisations, the development of mission enablers and pastoral consultants and by the story of the Crossways Centre.