A CHURCH Pastor who is leaving Barnsley after serving the community for eight years will remember the town and its people with great fondness.

Members and friends of Barnsley Baptist Church, on Sheffield Road gathered on Sunday to say their goodbyes to Reverend Ken Jefferson who joined the church after returning to the UK from a service in Swaziland (now Eswatini) in Southern Africa.

When he learned the church was without pastoral oversight, Ken, when approached, agreed to join the church for two years, but the membership prevailed upon him to stay longer.

Ken and his wife will return to their home in Scotland.

Ken said that he has ‘nothing but gratitude’ for his time spent in Barnsley, and will remember the place and the people with ‘great fondness’.

“It is apparently easier to get into Barnsley than it is to get out of it,” he said.

“When I came to Barnsley, the baptist congregation was very small, and the threat of closure was in the air, but now the congregation is much stronger and a fellowship has evolved, I can look forward to the future with confidence.

“Like every church, the baptist fellowship had to cope with the Covid crisis, but through online ministry and prayers, the fellowship grew, and when the public buildings could reopen, the church emerged stronger than before.

“I have nothing but gratitude in my heart for the time I spent in South Yorkshire and I’ll remember the place and the people with great fondness.”