WITH CHRIST: Pastor G. W. Shrimpton
A note from his son A. J. Shrimpton
Mr. G. W. Shrimpton was called home on April 5th 1993 at the age of 82.
From his earliest years, Mr. Shrimpton was brought up to attend chapel. At the age of ten, the deaths of a close school-friend and a fellow Sunday School scholar, together with a sermon, awakened him to a sense of his unpreparedness for death and the judgment to follow. However, it was another eleven years before he came to an assurance of salvation. He was baptised by Pastor Robert Mutimer in October 1932, and joined the church at Brentford.
Before long, he was engaged in Christian service, teaching a class of boys in the Sunday School and assisting in open-air services during the summer. He felt an increasing longing to preach, but at the same time felt inadequate for the task. Eventually, he resolved that if asked to preach he would do so, but that he would do or say nothing to bring it about.
At the end of August 1933 he began his teaching career, and at the same time received his first invitation to preach. His first sermon was preached at Horsell Common on the first Lord’s Day in September 1933, from the words, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
That was the start of an itinerant ministry that continued for almost 30 years before he was called to the pastorate of Cherry Lane Chapel, Lymm. A note among his papers indicates that over the years he preached in 115 chapels.
He commenced his ministry at Lymm (his only pastorate) in June 1963, continuing for a little over 25 years before handing over to David Morris in September 1988. During that period, the church was given a statement of faith and a constitution, and significant extensions and improvements were made to the chapel facilities. (The present pulpit is one example of his handiwork.) For the first nine years, the pastorate had to be combined with a full-time teaching post. He retired from teaching in August 1972.
Sadly, we cannot point to numerical success during the pastorate:
the congregation was small when Mr. Shrimpton came, and eventually declined to a point at which he felt unable to accept preaching engagements that would have required his absence from the services at Lymm (although he frequently preached elsewhere an Sunday evenings, after taking the morning and afternoon services at Lymm).
Nevertheless, he did see some fruit. His ministry is well summed up in words written to him by the present pastor:
“It hardly needs to be said that although the fruit of persistent enduring labour seems less than you may have wished to see, there would be no work for the Lord at Cherry Lane without your willingness and self-denial.”
(It is encouraging to note that under the ministry of Dr. Morris, the congregation at Cherry Lane is now seeing a slow but steady increase.)
The year after his retirement, he and his wife moved to Livingston. The patience and selfless devotion which characterised his life were clearly seen in the way he cared for his wife during the three months of her last illness. For the whole of that time he cared for her at home, until her death in October 1992.
His example is one which we shall find hard to follow.