As a young man, Roy Clements was a research chemist at Imperial College. Then, sensing the call of God in his life, he left science to study at London Bible College in Northwood. After three years working with students in university, Christian Unions and then four years as assistant pastor of Nairobi Baptist Church in Kenya, in 1979 he became senior pastor of Eden Baptist Church in Cambridge. Over the next twenty years, the congregation flourished with many students being drawn to Roy’s biblical expositions every Sunday morning. However, in 1999 everything fell apart. Roy had confessed his homosexual orientation to his wife and a few Christian friends. In spite of the public hostility of many in the conservative Christian constituency where he had formerly been a respected leader, Roy has always maintained that his evangelical theological convictions are unchanged.
A life-long Baptist, Avril Mackenzie-Parr still worships in the church building that she was dedicated in as a baby and baptized at the age of 15. As a Deacon, Sunday School teacher, Girls Brigade captain and regular preacher she has spent much of her life conforming to traditional evangelical Christianity. Now in a Civil Partnership with Nerina, her partner of 6 years, she and her church have been challenged to look at what it means to be gay and Christian and it hasn’t always been an easy journey. Now part of a new project, where two Baptist churches have joined together to become ‘One Church Brighton’ with an inclusive ethos, she is working with the new leadership team to see how this can work in reality with love and grace.
Holland House is a Retreat, Conference and Laity Centre. The main building is a beautiful old Tudor building, with well-kept gardens on the banks of the River Severn, in the picturesque village of Cropthorne, Worcestershire.