"Two years ago I was nearly finished with my undergraduate degree in Pastoral Studies and Theology at Moody Bible Institute in the US, wondering how I was ever going to step into full-time ministry, or afford further schooling. I could neither afford the cost of the seminaries in the US nor find a ministry position I felt called to and trained for. It was in my last semester that I was introduced to a brand new program, which at that time had no history, participants, website, or reputation called "The Alliance for Transatlantic Theological Training.”

The program offered American students two years of personal pastoral training in the UK alongside British pastors while also pursuing higher theological training at a much lower cost. Having spoken to the program director and realising that Union was their partner, my wife and I stepped out in faith and moved to the UK - to Liverpool - to serve as “Pastor-in-training” at Christ Church Liverpool, while working towards a Master of Theology degree at Union School of Theology.

Having time to mentally and physically change gears and spend time with other pastors and ministers at Union, while being stretched in the classroom, fuelled ministry for me in Liverpool.

Those two years have come and gone, and I cannot be more pleased with the practical training I received from the church staff at Christ Church Liverpool, and from my time in study at Union. It was a joy to spend many weeks directly focussed on day-to-day ministry, while also taking strategic weeks of rest and refreshment on Union's campus in Bridgend during the MTh modules. Having time to mentally and physically change gears and spend time with other pastors and ministers at Union, while being stretched in the classroom, fuelled ministry for me in Liverpool. It has equipped me for long-term ministry, refreshed me in the midst of busy seasons, and filled me with a deeper love for the Lord and His church.

As my two years at Christ Church Liverpool came to an end, and as I finished all my MTh courses at Union, my wife and I were once again wondering what was next. We had figured we would move back to the US and look for ministry opportunities there.

To our surprise, a fellow student from Moody Bible Institute, who is now Pastor in Suffolk, asked us to consider an Assistant Pastor role in Bury St Edmunds. This past February and March we spent a lot of time getting to know the church and interviewing, and in April we accepted the call to Bradfield and Rougham Baptist Church. We have recently visited family and renewed our visas, and I started in September 2017 as Assistant Pastor.

Looking back, the last two years feel like a surreal whirlwind, but we know that this is the path the Lord has led us down. As He continues to lay opportunities to serve Him and His Church, we continue to follow suit and step out in faith. We are amazed that we are privileged to live and serve the church in this small corner of the world. We are deeply thankful to Union for being a very large part of our equipping and formation for that task."

Peter Mason, Bradfield and Rougham Baptist Church

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