13 December 2021 | Watford, UK [David Neal and Sam Davies]
Pastor Eglan Brooks, currently Ministerial Association director for the British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (BUC), is now elected to serve as President. He succeeds Pastor Ian Sweeney who has been called to serve as Field Secretary in the Trans-European Division.
As the BUC Executive Committee prayed and considered the person to succeed Sweeney, members shared together the qualities they sought in the leader they were looking for: integrity, humility, commitment, a spiritual person with vision, confidence and a passion for ministry and mission.
After working and praying through a process that considered many possible candidates, on Thursday, 9 December 2021, they agreed and voted Brooks to serve in the role of President to lead the Church in the UK and Ireland for the next five years.
A leader arises in the context of time and circumstance. With committee members gathered in the Stanborough Park church sanctuary, the optics of masked and socially-distanced committee members widely dispersed among the pews, were a vivid reminder of our time. Opening prayers contained yet again support for an individual, and a family grief-stricken by the pandemic. As Sweeney noted, “We need the Comforter. We need God’s guidance and wisdom today.”
Is it possible that the Lord answered Sweeney’s heartfelt plea through the election of Pastor Brooks? He is well-known for his strong administrative and organisational skill, focus on mission and personal evangelism, and his commitment to ensuring youth and children have a place in the Church. A quality that shines through is his empathy and concern for the well-being of the individual. Equally, when he sees someone wronged, he wants the injustice put right.
In his acceptance remarks to committee members he stated, “These are challenging times for us as a Church. I reckon that we will have some difficult days ahead of us. I think that there will be some issues that need to be resolved.”
Trans European Division (TED) President Pastor Raafat Kamal, chair of the Executive Committee for the nomination process, noted that “One of the main purposes for the existence of the British Union Conference as enshrined in its constitution is to ‘proclaim the everlasting Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…’” He went on to affirm that “Pastor Brooks has been trained and equipped by God and His servants, who called him for such a moment in history to lead the work in making God known to the 73 million people within the territory of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.”
“The election of Pastor Brooks is one I wholeheartedly welcome,” Kamal continued, “and one in which I look forward to deepening the working partnership that exists between our largest constituency and the Trans-European Division.” Of the 88,419 TED members, British Union Conference membership is 40,233.
With the welcome came a request. “I humbly request from our members, pastors and leaders to join me in lifting Pastor Brooks and his family before the Lord Almighty to fulfil His promise as written in Isaiah 41:10, ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’”
Training and experience
Brooks began his training for ministry at Northern Caribbean University (formerly West Indies College) completing his graduate studies with an MA in Old Testament Studies and Pastoral Administration at Newbold College in 1991.
His entry into departmental leadership came in 1998 with his appointment as Pathfinder and Teen Ministries director at the South England Conference (SEC). For the next five years the then rapidly growing Pathfinder movement became Eglan’s life, training district and local leaders to effectively minister to children and teens. This was foundational for future leadership responsibility. It was under his tenure in 2001 that the ‘Pathfinder Handbook’ was commissioned, still currently used by Pathfinders today.
From 2003-2006 Brooks returned to local church ministry in south London (Area 6B), pastoring six churches, and then the Cambridge and Harlow district.
At the 2006 British Union Conference Session that he was called to serve as Personal Ministries Director. The role included responsibility for promoting evangelism, church growth, and the then BUC Life Development initiative, an evangelism and discipleship resource aimed at connecting with UK secular people.
For a decade Brooks immersed himself into the role, including an annual National Lay Bible Workers’ Convention, a 3-day multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental symposium, for the discipline of study and sharing of scripture together, always with the aim of reaching a friend for Christ.
As a continuing resource to support the life and witness of the church year-round, in 2011 he created the British Union Training Resource Evangelism Centre (BUTREC), which co-ordinated the production, sale and distribution of evangelistic resources.
Connected with BUTREC was the launch in 2012 of the annual literature distribution initiative, whereby every member in the UK and Ireland is invited to share a magazine or book with a friend. Beginning with the ‘Power of 31,000’, the initiative is now embedded into the church calendar, continuing to this day as the Power of 40,000. It serves as a continuing legacy to his commitment to personal witness and mission. This emphasis enhanced his skills for this new role, committed to training members for ministry, through utilising their spiritual gifts. It is initiative that fitted well with the later General Conference ‘Total Member Involvement’ plan!
From 2017 onwards until his most recent appointment, Brooks served as the Ministerial Director for the British Union. Many pastors can testify to having benefited from his pastoral visit in their home, aften accompanied by his wife Tina, listening to concerns over a shared meal together. Although not every problem was solved, through his listening and empathetic ministry, the problem was halved.
On a Sabbath morning just over a week ago, Brooks was awoken early with something on his mind. He was unsettled, and as he shared with the Executive Committee members, he was drawn to Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
As Brooks begins his new role leading Seventh-day Adventists in the UK and Ireland, he expresses confidence “that in all that will happen, the Lord Himself will lead this Church. I am also confident that this Church can make a difference in this world.”
Married to Tina Brooks for 32 years, they are the parents of Melody, Jasper and Kyle. Tina, an accomplished musician, served at one time as the musical director for the London Adventist Chorale. In a TED programme hosted by Ken Burton for Hope Channel UK, Tina talks about the role of music in her life, which can be seen at this link:
An earlier version of this report first appeared in BUC News, 10 December 2021.
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Vanesa Pizzuto, associate editor
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