UK BANKER BECOMES NEW LOCAL CHURCH LEADER
Let me introduce myself; I am David Archer and together with my wife, Gwen, we are new to the area. We have recently taken on the leadership of Riverchurch, the International English Speaking Church meeting most Sunday mornings close to Auchan on the edge of Perpignan. The previous leaders, Dave & Amy Roche set up the church a few years ago. They returned home to the UK in June to continue their studies and enjoy some rest and recuperation with their family.
We originate from Suffolk, England, not far from Ipswich. We have lived and worked there all our lives. We have been married for 26 years and have four children: Will is a chef, Claire a beauty therapist, Jeremy is just starting music college and Beth is just beginning her A-levels. Gwen is a primary school teacher and I am a banker. As many people will know, bankers have become even less popular than estate agents and tax inspectors in the UK since the financial crisis hit! Therefore, after the best part of 30 years in banking, I began to become very unsettled with how things were going in the banking industry and looked for a change. My stress levels were high and the blood pressure higher!
As a Christian, my style is to pray, so pray I did for what seemed like months whilst I looked for new opportunities God might lead us to, and then, to cut a long story short came the call to lead a church in the P-O! This was rather unexpected, seemed initially to be impractical, but looked like a very exciting potential lifestyle change. We have been on numerous family holidays staying in Laroque des Alberes and built up a real love for the area, and we were already involved in church leadership in Suffolk so there was some logic to it all! So after further prayer and a visit to Riverchurch in February we agreed to take on the role, in spite of realising how cold it can be here in the winter!
So here we are! A few weeks in and we are settling into our new lifestyle. Banking is firmly behind me. Our new challenge is beginning to unfold ahead of us as we get to know the people and more about the area. The diversity of the region is reflected in the church. Riverchurch is an interesting mix of people from many different backgrounds. We are non-denominational, therefore, but all enjoy fellowship, worship and God’s Word.
When I’m not preparing for church or improving my language skills, you may find me wandering the countryside. After my family and the church, my other main passion is for the local wildlife, particularly the birds. Birdwatching is very different here with a whole new range for exciting Mediterranean species to enjoy amongst familiar ones too. You don’t get wild Flamingos in Suffolk and there are no mountains for Griffin Vultures to drift over in East Anglia!
We have a heart to reach out to serve the local English speaking community and beyond, so if anyone needs assistance, prayer or feels the church might be able to help in any way, please feel free to contact me; we would be pleased to help.
Pastor – Riverchurch, Perpignan